In about a month, I will be walking across a stage to get my college diploma. It’s a day I’ve always known was coming – there was never a moment when I doubted that I would go to college and graduate – but somehow, I’ve never actually been able to imagine it happening. I can’t picture myself as anything but a student, and a month from today – I will be a college graduate. A “real person.”
It is absolutely terrifying, and for the last several months I have done nothing but worry about it – about whether I’ll be able to find a job (here’s a hint: I haven’t. There simply aren’t any. I should not have doubted all the adults who spent the last eight years telling me just that, but for some reason I thought they were exaggerating. Future graduates: they were not.), a place to live, whether I chose the right major. And frankly, my biggest concern even without my ever realizing it has been whether I’ll be able to find my place in this world. It’s scary out there, and the thought of having a “real” job – one where I get paid on salary, not the money that strangers are kind enough to leave on the table, is a whole new reality that I don’t know if I’m ready to face.
For the time being, there are a hundred careers out there that I can imagine myself enjoying, and I’m just not sure if the one I’ve been planning on for the last four years is it. Yesterday, Alice wrote a lovely post about all the things she used to want to be when she grew up, and all the things she wants to be now. I think for today, I am going to take a page out of her book (er…blog) and do the same.
When I Was Little
As a little girl, I would sit in my grandmother’s living room watching the news and drawing pictures for hours. I spent years believing that I could be an artist one day. I even had my parents enroll me in a drawing class…which is precisely when I realized that starving artist was not in my future, as I was an entirely incompetent artist.
It wasn’t so much a love for animals as it was a love for my cat. I think that at six years old, I believed that being a vet would allow me to spend entire days playing with cats. And let’s be real, that’s still my dream job.
Every year, my school held a career day where local professionals in all different fields would come in and talk to students about what they do on a daily basis. Every time career day came around, I’d write “lawyer” in the little number one space where I was supposed to write my first choice (of course, I usually got placed in religious studies instead, much to my chagrin). At some point, I don’t know when, I simply stopped dreaming of one day becoming a lawyer. I think I realized that I was not the type of person who becomes a lawyer.
When I wasn’t at my grandmother’s house drawing a thousand pictures of sunsets, I was writing best-selling novels that never made it past the first page. I remember starting a novel about a man who had been falsely accused of a murder his friend had committed. How my six-year-old brain concocted that one is beyond me. Most likely, I was listening to the murder-mystery show my grandmother loved to watch and heard a similar story.
Even though I don’t have fantasies about becoming a New York Times Best-Selling Author anymore, writing is one of the few things I brought from my childhood until now. I love to write, and managed to find a way to do it that allows me not to make it past the first page.
Now That I’m “All Grown Up”
Given my level of commitment (or lack there-of), I realize that this will not happen. But I do have the occasional (read: almost daily) daydream of being able to make money off of this here little blog.
This one’s a bit iffy. I have a minor in this subject, and spent last semester working at the local paper writing articles. I still freelance for them, and I do enjoy it. But I’m just not sure if it’s something I want to spend 40 hours a week doing for the rest of my life… Maybe this is just my ridiculous notion that real people can manage to find a job they absolutely love, and that doesn’t actually feel like work.
This just feels perfect for me – the grown-up that used to be a six-year-old dreaming of solving crime from the court room. I’ve always wanted to work in an office, and this seems like the perfect middle-ground since I know lawyer is not in my future.
I recently (as recently as this week) enrolled in a paralegal certificate program that I can complete online in seven months. I am so. excited.
Okay okay…this is cheating. I know this isn’t a career path. But as John Lennon once said, “you’re missing the point if you think happy isn’t what we all want to be when we grow up.” Okay, maybe I’m paraphrasing….but I think you get the point.
What about you…what do you want to be when you grow up?