Tuesday, November 2, 2010
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...