Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What is Your Dream Job?

Some months ago, I think in January but it may have been quite earlier, I saw a 30 day blogging challenge
thing which I didn't intend to follow to the letter but thought the prompts were interesting enough I could use them on days that I didn't have another idea and up my blogging frequency. As it's been months and months obviously that didn't work. However, in my dashboard I sorted the drafts from the published posts and saw these and thought: Ah ha! They're not so hard, why don't I prepare those ahead of time for the early days of when little baby Berkeley is born? That way when I'm sleep deprived and running on vapors I can just hit "publish" and bam, my readers won't be neglected but neither will be the other things I'm learning to juggle...

So apparently I had only done 6 of the 30, so we're starting with day 7... please note that that I'm hoping to write all of these pre-baby's arrival so you're really reading these "in the future"... I'm starting to do these in April, so actually you know better than me if I had time to finish all 30 before my baby's birth...

Day 7: What is your dream job, and why?

This is an interesting one in that when I was a kid it was always changing. The first thing I ever wanted to me? A mutant ninja turtle of course! I was very disappointed that that wasn't possible.

Then it was ballerina (I am a tall, big boned klutz) then I think country singer then sixth grade teacher then pop singer then writer then French teacher.. there were some more I know I'm missing. And of course I remember the young dream that I'd be a millionaire (for no particular reason) who lived in a mansion with 200 cats and drove a limousine (I didn't realize that limos were typically driven for you.) 

Truth is I was quite fickle and never really had any idea what I wanted to do, not really. I was very unlike my sisters in this way. My older sister always, always wanted to be a doctor. We'd play games with our Barbies or our stuffed animals and 50% of the time they'd get into a car accident and have to go get casts put on (made from paper) or they'd need glasses (also made from paper) or need braces (this was actually quite clever, she found that if you poked a thumb tack hole in the corner of Barbie's mouth where she smiles you could take a thin piece of wire and give her braces; the stuffed animals got paper.) She changed which kind of specialty she wanted every 6 months or so, but she always, always wanted to be a doctor... until ninth grade when she had a wonderful World History teacher. Then she wanted to teach high school history. Dramatic shift, but it stuck and that's what her career is in! She's actually an award winning teacher who has actually gotten to travel for free to other countries to learn more about World History to take back to her classroom and was the youngest AP World History grader in the nation (like she graded the AP exams of high school kids from all over the country.)

My younger sister on the other hand always, always wanted to be an Egyptologist. Unlike our other sister, she wasn't at all fickle about it. She never really wanted to be a general archeologist or anything. It was always, always Egypt. She had a museum in her room made from mainly stuff bought out of actual museum gift shops: little sarcophagus and Rah and Bast statuettes, stuff like that. It just fascinated her. She was Cleopatra for Halloween, of course, though she'd give you a lecture about how Cleopatra wasn't really an Egyptian. She was totally set on a clear path... until either tenth or eleventh grade (sorry, forget which) when she discovered quantum physics. Then, like my older sister, drastic course change! And also like my older sister she suddenly started shifting specialties. She went from wanting to be a theoretical physicists specializing in string theory (yes, exactly what Sheldon Cooper does on the Big Bang Theory, but this was years before that show aired!), then she wanted to astro-physics (what Raj does) and got a telescope. She went to college and yes, she majored in physics and I'm pretty sure that makes her physicist. She had wanted to double major in astronomy or at least minor but her college only offered a few classes in that sub-specialty. She took them all and also worked at the planetarium and observatory. There, she fell in love with working with the public. She also took some biology courses and ended up spending a summer during cancer research and was considering bio-physics for a bit... then she realized what she wanted to do. She wanted to do science public outreach. She got a job working for a Science Center within a few months of graduating and now is in her second Science Center location. She'd ultimately probably like to either run her own Science Center or Museum and perhaps have a PBS show like Nova Science Now or Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Me, however, I was more like dandelion fluff. I drifted from idea to idea and none of it seemed to ever stick. I mean I knew I was going to write. That never really changed, but I also didn't see that as a career path, not really. Making a living writing seemed as likely as winning the lottery: no reason not to buy a ticket, but you don't lock into a mortgage on the gamble. I always figured I'd write, but it'd be a hobby, kind of how I viewed this blog for a while. The need to write was always there, but I didn't really see it as a career.

When I started college it was with the idea of double majoring in French and Religion. French was because that was in the "I'll be a French teacher" days and Religion was because I'd felt God had told me that He had plans for me (without being more specific on what they were) and I figured a degree could only help me for the future vague plan, right? Well, from right off the bat I realized I wasn't as good in French as I thought. I had had three years high school French and I was very good, there. But that was in a rural South Carolina town and really I was a good mimic. I have never had trouble with the French accent and I could learn it fairly well. But what I learned in college is I could not understand spoken. I just couldn't. I still can't really. I mean, I wasn't the worst French student ever, but there was like a mental wall in my head I couldn't break through. I only understood like every fifth word and after beginning French, the teachers conducted the classes in French! I could follow along with some context and certainly if I did understand the question I could answer. I didn't have trouble with reading, writing, or speaking French, only in understanding it when it was spoken to me. I realized I wasn't going to be a French teacher freshman year, but I still took French classes until sophomore year (so I got 5 years total.) Sophomore year I went and met with a professor and explained my frustration and they told me that what I needed was immersion and that from their experience I probably wouldn't progress without it. I didn't have the money at my disposal to study abroad, so I haven't studied French again since sophomore year. It's still in my heart though and I would love to one day truly become fluent in it.

Religion I dropped because God told me to freshman year... only I didn't really drop it. Actually, I did now that I think about it. God basically ordered me not to major in it, so I stopped... but when signing up for classes I was really intrigued by some of the Religion courses offered. I enjoyed the Religion department immensely (if I also sometimes found it maddening; but my personality type is the kind that loves a good, civil debate.) So I prayed to God that I understood I wasn't to major in Religion, but what about a minor? I felt the Spirit give me the nod, so that's what happened and yes, I have a minor in Religion. But that was also sophomore year...

So second half of freshman year I'm having God telling me "no" to Religion and my common sense telling me "no" to French (I was still contemplating taking the courses then, for the sake of attaining fluency, but I realized with frustration I didn't think I'd get enough grasp of the material to actually teach it. A teacher has to be better than a mere speaker of the language, after all.) So what was I to major in? One of my courses was Theatre 101... and I loved it. I fell in love with the theatre and by the end of freshman year decided to major in it.

Understand though, I never intended to make a career of theatre. I didn't dismiss the possibility of a job in the field. I could see myself possibly working at an arts camp or becoming the one expert in the local recreational Theatrical society. I never saw myself working with Broadway or the more professional companies, that wasn't my appeal. I liked the smaller time. But even while I could envision myself doing that, I still didn't think I would do that. I was majoring in theatre because I didn't know what else to major in. I'd read a statistic that said 70% of college graduates are working in a field they did not major in just 10 years later and I figured that that would be and I'd just be one of the very few aware that that would be me from the get go! That didn't bother me at all.

I do not regret my major. I loved my major. If I had to go back I may have chosen to double major in something else, but I can't imagine not majoring in theatre. I still expect God has a purpose for my less than conventional major, and I will always be a theatre girl at heart.

But so what was I going to do as a career? I didn't like the idea of going from job to job aimlessly...

One thing happened in college that wasn't academic. Well, lots of stuff, but one interesting thing was I made friends with homeschooled students. I counted it up and I literally had thirteen friends who had been homeschooled. I was surrounded! But in a wonderful way: they really opened my eyes to this form of education.

You may have noticed that between French teaching and the sixth grade teaching before and even some of the ideas I had about what I may do with my theatre degree that teaching has always appealed to me in some way or another. However the rigidity of administration and curriculum had not and honestly that could be a long blog post telling you about my clashes and despair in high school over stupid policies and a lack of common sense and war against any passion for learning. However, homeschooling is the antithesis of that, or at least it has the potential to be so... homeschooling is freedom. Now I am not going to be an "unschooler" I do think children benefit from some sort of discipline in their studies, but I love that homeschooling is the freedom to invest in the individual child and not into a philosophy of education. It can nurture the talents of a child, move on to the next subject when the current one is mastered, linger if more time is needed without making more advanced students suffer. It can realize that a hands on approach is needed and decide to do a field trip on a moment's notice. It can focus on individual weaknesses. It's nurturing as well as educating and it's very, very flexible.

In other words I freaking fell in love.

I realized junior year I think that I wanted to homeschool... I realized senior year that in truth that was the career I wanted. I didn't admit this to anyone right away though and when I did, it was sheepish and embarassed. I had grown up in a post modern, feminist society and the idea that what I wanted to do brought in no income and was really staying at home with the kids seemed somehow "less than." I am over that now, but I am sad I ever felt that way. But quite positively I really realized that homeschooling was my dream. It was the very first thing that "fit"...

Thing is how do you homeschool without a family?

So I was thrust into the flitting from job to job path with no real direction. 

The job I loved the most was actually working on a website, but I didn't give that much thought at the time.

God highlighted this blog to me as a source of work. God doesn't want us to be idle, but He also doesn't define employment as simply something that brings in a material income. So when I was struggling to obtain a paycheck He showed me this blog as something to work, a way to reach out and impact others and produce something.

And lots of stuff happened and life passed and I moved to India and got married.

Here in India I still am not legally free to work, though now it's more of a paperwork issue (paperwork hates me) then illegal (without the paperwork getting processed it's still illegal though, grr) but for the first year it was clearly not legal. We had to be married a year before I can get my PIO, which gives me the right to work. (I'm told getting my PIO while in India though can take over a year itself though, so who knows when it'll be free.)

However I had my blogging and honestly it was growing. And I began seeing blogging even more professionally (I'd already been learning about that for a few years.) And then of course this fall, I decided I was going to write. That is, I woke up and realized I'm a writer. And I was going to embrace that in a real way. 

As I said, it's always been there. Seriously. I always knew I was going to write. There's a reason I've had this blog for five and a half years. I have to have a writing outlet (and no this hasn't been the only one.)

When I told my younger sister I was embracing writing you know what she said? "Finally! We've all known that forever. It's been painful watching you figure it out."

I am still working on my writing... probably by the time you've read this I've talked more about it. 

So yeah, I guess for me my dream careers are writing and homeschooling. And hopefully I'll be embracing both. 

1 comment:

  1. Indeed a good writer, continue writing... Lots of blessings


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