I was one of those college students who is often ridiculed. I spent as long as allowed with an undeclared major. I tried to determine what I really wanted to do when I grew up without much success. When time was running out I punted by changing my major on multiple occasions before finally deciding how I was going to spend the rest of my work life. Even when I had finally chosen to become an educator I vacillated on what level and subject I wanted to teach.
I suppose that I was more typical than an outlier. I’ve watched thousands of my former students experience the same kind of confusion as I did about how to prepare for their futures. Often times they major in one area only to change their minds and find work in something totally different. I suspect that we put a great deal of pressure on young people when we force them to make life changing decisions before they have had enough experience to do so in a meaningful manner.
I remember first thinking that I wanted to be a secretary, now euphemistically called an administrative assistant. My mother had done such work and she seemed to enjoy it so much that I dreamed of becoming just like her. Along the way I began to glamorize the life of an airline stewardess and imagined flying to far away places and living a life of adventure. Of course I had no idea of how different the actual work is from the pictures I had created in my mind.
Eventually I decided that I wanted to be either a nurse or a doctor in spite of the fact that my least favorite subject in school was biology. In fact I mostly disliked all science courses. Somehow I imagined that once I had finished the academic work I would suddenly become enchanted with medicine. I had also been told that it was a sure thing to land a steady job in that field. Unfortunately a trip to Baylor College of Medicine and a close up look at reality left me nauseated at the very thought of entering that field and even more confused than ever.
In my heart of hearts I wanted to be a journalist. More than anything I had done in high school, I enjoyed writing. As the news editor of the school paper I felt that I was in my element. Sadly when I confessed this to my counselor, he dashed all of my hopes of majoring in journalism. With the quick reminder that the odds of getting a good paying position as a writer for a newspaper or magazine was slim to none, he destroyed my dream. Thus I entered university life without clue of what to study.
During my sophomore year of college the clock was ticking for me to make a choice. I thought about being a business major but the one course I took in that field was horrific in my mind. I had an art professor insist that I should major in fine arts. Several of my English professors invited me to become a student in the new writing program that they had developed. I even considered getting a law degree because it seemed to bring together all of the skills that I most enjoyed like writing, speaking, and the social sciences. In the end I chose being and educator because it too allowed me to use my creativity to inspire and teach our young.
I never regretted my choice of careers, but a little bug has always whispered in my ear. It reminded me that I really wanted to write. Thus I often volunteered to create school newsletters because the task was fun for me. I made up stories to teach concepts to my students. I wrote little essays just for fun. The idea of being a writer for the public never really left me and still lives vividly in my heart.
I have noticed that magazines and newspapers are dwindling. Many have gone out of business. Old school journalism is a dying art. Most of the good writing these days is online. With the new technology anyone who wishes is able to create an essay or a blog and then post it for public view. Thanks to the new avenues for writing, I get to fulfill my dream five days a week. For me it is a glorious hobby that brings me the greatest imaginable pleasure. Whether or not anyone actually reads what I write is unimportant. My joy comes from being able to finally share my thoughts.
Each day that I post a blog I feel as though I am creating my own little journal of stories and commentaries. I never fail to be surprised by the reactions of my mystery readers. Some essays that I write on a whim become quite popular while others into which I pour my heart seem to lay an egg. I suppose that is the fate of anyone who attempts to write for an audience. I never really know how people will react when I schedule a particular piece.
When I think back to my youth I often wonder what might have been if my elders had not been so insistent that poets and journalists often starve. I was a very obedient and practical girl who found a way to channel my creative urges in a classroom. Ironically I did so while teaching mathematics. I have often felt that my ability with words helped me to explain difficult concepts in an understandable way to my students. Somehow all of my dreams came together when I stood before them hoping to communicate how delightful learning can be. I was writing out loud and it worked. I was fulfilled and so were they.
Now I have a thousand stories to tell and the desire to do so while I am able. My magazine is my own and it is my gift to whomever cares to partake of it. All it takes is a little love from me.