Tuesday, November 2, 2010

all those things you're supposed to do

 
dress: thrift, altered by me, $3 -- blazer: thrift, $5 -- shoes: BC footwear via Nordstrom Rack, $40

Today, I had that "oh my god, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?!" moment. You'd think that it would have happened before--I'm probably the most long-term-minded person you'll ever meet, but I guess I've always thought it'd come to me in time. Well, more accurately, I tend to believe that I'll do with the rest of my life whatever it is that I find most compelling at that particular moment. When my passion for English class was at its zenith, I just knew I was going to become an English professor. I'd sit around in class daydreaming lesson plans. When I spent all my leisure time baking, cooking, and attending to household tasks, I was pretty sure that just being a homemaker would make me pretty darn happy.

Since I've gotten to college, though, that whole let-yourself-explore mentality has helped me shed some of my need for a grand objective. But come on, really, what do I actually want to do? I'm an Studio Art/American Studies double major who works in the photo lab and teaches sex ed. Until this morning, I've maintained the stance that I don't want to go to grad school except to get an MFA. The reading and writing load really gets to me sometimes. But I'm just not sure that I want to pursue a career in art. I want a career that allows creativity, but I can't envision myself making my living with art. I love teaching, sure, but I'm not sure that I want to be a photography teacher. That sounds good, but so does teaching sexual health. So does working at Planned Parenthood. So does being an editor (proofreading is a hobby of mine). So does managing a photo lab. You get the idea.

So I was sitting in my lecture today, noticing that my American History professor was especially on-it this morning. She's one of a handful of professors I've come to admire and sort of idolize in my time in college thus far. All of them are female, under 45, incredibly eloquent, experts in their fields, and fantastic lecturers. And they're all beautiful and stylish, too! (Not that aesthetic considerations make anyone more or less qualified, of course.) Basking in the academic brilliance, it hit me: I could do this.

I love teaching. I love thinking. As much as I might complain about writing papers, I do enjoy creating them. I'll spend a week with the prompt floating around in my consciousness, toying with possible topics and bouncing ideas off of each other. I love words. I love the ability words give us to share our ideas and explain our experiences. I love how language facilitates knowledge and understanding. I love how language tames and gives order. Language even informs my art, as my video art teacher pointed out--my work is almost always verbally and linguistically informed.

So what do I want to do? I have too many ideas and not enough conclusions. I guess the good news is that I don't have to make that decision for a while.  I also don't think that what I decide I want to do upon graduating at age 21 is hard-and-fast. I'm open to changing my mind.  Even so, I'm terrified of existing without some vague trajectory. Being so open to different careers is probably an asset in today's job market, but I've totally bought into that pesky cultural obsession with having Dreams. I suppose I could just aim to finish undergrad, but that isn't good enough anymore. Hmm...

12 comments:

Stacie said...

Whatever you settle on, I know you'll be damned good at it. Still LOVE that dress you altered, too, Sophe. And you rock it!

keith said...

I must admit that professorship and thrift-store wardrobe are a natural "fit."

CeCe said...

Take it from me Sophi, you have nothing to worry about! 9 times out of 10 people go on to work in fields or at jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with their undergrad majors. What's for you is for you and you'll have plenty of time to figure things out post graduation so DON'T WORRY! Look at me, I majored in business and now...I work at a magazine lol. Go figure!

Jin said...

Ah, you young 'un. You're right about grad school being unattractive though... maybe a bit jaded, but:

http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

betsie said...

gorgeous dress, looks very quaint et cute .

do feel free to check out/ follow 'betsie' at:

www.ohbetsie.blogspot.com

Kate said...

This outfit is darling! And you will likely change your mind a million times over about what you want to do with life, it's ever-evolving, so don't stress too much trying to figure it out! Because once you finally figure it out... you're likely to come up with a brand new idea! But such is the beauty of life!

Michal said...

You look adorable. I know where you're coming from. I'm constantly obsessing over studying different things, I've considered being a musician, a choreographer a language teacher, etc. I'm sure you'll settle on something eventually, the important thing is to get the most out of what you're doing now! (:

melina bee said...

two things:
1. great outfit! so cute, did the dress used to be too long? It seems a bit 30s inspired to me, I love the neckline and that you paired such girly fabric with a blazer.
2. I remember being 19 and all freaked out like that cause my interests are all over the place like yours and feeling like you have to fit them all into one career box. good news is you don't. maybe think of a career as something that evolves and grows organically and less through you forcing it and making all the right decisionsmelina bee

Nnenna said...

Ahh, I'm totally in the same boat! I'm just hoping that everything will just sort of fall into place- probably not a good idea...

melina bee said...

two things:
1. great outfit! so cute, did the dress used to be too long? It seems a bit 30s inspired to me, I love the neckline and that you paired such girly fabric with a blazer.
2. I remember being 19 and all freaked out like that cause my interests are all over the place like yours and feeling like you have to fit them all into one career box. good news is you don't. maybe think of a career as something that evolves and grows organically and less through you forcing it and making all the right decisionsmelina bee

Jin said...

Ah, you young 'un. You're right about grad school being unattractive though... maybe a bit jaded, but:

http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

CeCe said...

Take it from me Sophi, you have nothing to worry about! 9 times out of 10 people go on to work in fields or at jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with their undergrad majors. What's for you is for you and you'll have plenty of time to figure things out post graduation so DON'T WORRY! Look at me, I majored in business and now...I work at a magazine lol. Go figure!