When I was an undergrad, I said there were two things I would never do: 1) I would never be a teacher; and 2) I would never go to grad school.
I graduated from college and made about $5.00 an hour as a medical transcriptionist at the college veterinary school. What a great way to put my degree to work!
My bachelors degree was in English. Not education, because I was never going to be a teacher, but just English. You know, the degree you can get just for reading a bunch of books, sitting around discussing said books (if you actually read them), and writing some papers.
What, pray tell, does one do with an English degree? Besides the obvious career path of medical transcriptionist, I mean.
I started college with the idea that I was going to go to medical school and be a pediatrician. That's a goal of most middle-school students, but they usually grow out of it and start thinking of something they are really suited for. Not me. I carried that baby all the way to college, into the Honors Program.
I had just turned 17 two months before, and I started college 10 days after my high school graduation. I had a diploma but no sense.
When I met the esteemed Mr. College Calculus, my ideas about medical school were pretty much over. As was my brief tenure in the Honors Program. Even if I had survived calculus (whatever the hell it is, anyway) and college chemistry (the periodic table still makes no sense to me) and a Friday afternoon chemistry lab from 3:30 - 6:30 (weren't they aware of my busy social life?), I never would have survived medical school. I didn't have the drive, the ambition, the cut-throat nature of that kind of competition. Oh I could do it now......I would THRIVE in that environment now. But not then.
I toyed briefly with the idea of a journalism major, because I enjoyed writing and my high school teacher told me I was good at it. One of my first English professors told me I sucked at it and I might want to think about a different major and maybe even a different university in a different state. Not really, but he really hurt my feelings.
I thought I would major in journalism with a focus on magazines and move to New York City and become some editor-type person and continue my busy social life. It's still not out of the question, although I'm going to have to find some New York City bars where I can find a lot of partying action before 8:00 PM. I've still got to adhere to my bedtime.
The one career that I still hold out hope for, however, is a writer. I have this book in my head that I think about every night (almost) before I go to sleep. I develop the characters, keep the plot moving, work out some conflicts. It's changed a lot over the past 10 years or so, and I'm always sure it will sell. Maybe even be developed into a movie. And they'll ask me to consult on the screenplay, and I'll be there at the Oscars, thanking Roger Bailey (my high school English teacher) and telling that college professor to go to hell.
The problem is that I can only "work" on this novel while I'm lying in bed in the dark. And I can't figure out how to type like that. Sitting up, in the light of day, it's gone.
Maybe I should just file that one with the pediatrician and the magazine editor.