Gone are my childhood days when I and my friends knew with certainty what we wanted to “be” when we grew up. Dancers, firefighters, teachers (my personal choice ), astronauts, even the president of the United States (I’m not sure if any of them would really want that job NOW!), we were all pretty sure what we wanted to be. In our kindergarten world view, your profession defined you.
We had parents who were simply “Moms,” “librarians,” “businessmen,” and “engineers.” I grew up with a “Nurse-mom” and an “Engineer-dad.” (And I never really understood what exactly my dad did everyday… I just knew that he had a lot of fun office supplies to play with when my sister and I would go into the office with him on certain Saturdays. Don’t underestimate the magic in permanent markers, highlighters and a giant pad of paper on an easel… especially to a little girl who wants to be a teacher when she grows up and has a little sister who is relatively willing to sit and be a diligent pupil!)
Then, I started high school. And I didn’t really like a lot of my teachers. Some were great, others, not so much… And I started to question, could I see myself teaching the SAME subject day after day, year after year? Wouldn’t I be bored if I taught younger kids because of the lack of conversations/debates that took place in so many of my secondary education classes? (I’ve come to think- no, probably not. But, that was what I was thinking as a Junior/Senior in high school)
As college application time came around, I decided that it was kinda important that I have some idea of what I wanted to study for four years if for no other reason than it would help me narrow down the choices of colleges. I settled on Architecture. My rationalization was along the lines of, “Well, I like (and am pretty good at) math and science, but I really enjoy being creative… I really like houses, and all of the renovation/redecoration stuff we’ve done at our house since we moved in… and I really believe that there has to be a better way to build houses for the less-fortunate than the way government/low-income housing is done now.” (the last thought was inspired by a summer short-term mission trip to South Dakota, which I’ll have to write about later)
Anyway, I chose a good university that ended up having a very well- respected architecture program (which I didn’t know when I signed up) and I spent the next four years living on very little sleep and late night snacks of crackers, water, and gum (you should’ve seen the stuff my classmates ate!) to churn out drawings, scale models, and “boards.” It was a lot like hard work- with a lot of fun acitivities like throwing ninja stars made out of drafting tape and exacto blades at foam core targets added in. I graduated with a group of life-long friends- the kinds of which can only be formed during late night line dancing lessons amidst the chaos of cardboard, foam core, basswood, acetate, and LOTS of Tacky Glue (or, alternatively, boxes of uncooked spaghetti noodles and dozens of hot glue guns… I’m going to have to write a “series” on “architecture school”) AND a degree Bachelor’s of Science in Architectural Studies.
Now, I’m working at a non-profit organization that builds super energy efficient houses for low-income families and trying to decide again, what I want to be when I grow up. I could go back to school to get my Master’s of Architecture. I could go back to school to get a Master’s of Education and a teacher’s certificate. I could keep working here. I could join the Teach for America corps. I could do a lot of things… and life isn’t as simple as it was when I was in kindergarten, teaching my little sister what I had learned that day while we played “school.” There are a lot more factors to consider now. The job market, the economy, our family economy, my husband’s job/career, our immediate and eventual future plans… Lucky for me, I do know for sure ONE occupation that I want to be “when I grow up.”
A mom. Now there’s just all the other decisions to make, preparations, steps, etc. In the meantime, I’m really enjoying my job as a “wife.” 🙂
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Choosing joy (and future plans!),