Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Back to School Hurricane

Hi, friends.

Well, Monday marked the first day of school I've had in four years. I finally bit the bullet and decided to get my master's degree! It was a no brainer, really, but I always seemed to have some kind of excuse for twelve semesters straight (geez, I've been lazy!). I have an employee scholarship that affords me a really great opportunity to get my education for next to nothing. If not now..when?

Besides my wildly over-committed schedule (demanding work schedule, side business ventures, volunteering duties and being a good wifey), my main concern was a question I've been faced with lately: What do I REALLY want to do with my life? You know, the basic "What do you want to be when you grow up?" questions from childhood. Does anyone ever really figure this out?

I was very recently faced with this question that I so often try to hide beneath a cover of  "I'm perfectly fine and content." The truth is I'm restless, unsure and a big hot mess. This came to light recently.

After a summer of waiting for the last of my three advisers, this particular faculty member finally got to her office the day before classes started.  I approached her confidently, waiting for her to dutifully sign off on my well-thought-out degree plan. She gently rests her hand on my degree plan and says "You know, this degree won't get you anywhere."

Immediate choke response. How could this woman (whom I had met) have such an opinion about my future? She went on to explain that people would look right over me in a job application process and I would have wasted my time.

Then she asked that dreaded question: "What is is that you want to do with your life, Kayli?"

Now comes the part of my temperament that I hate. I cry. I just absolutely lose my cool, and tear up when I'm upset or even just plain pissed off. Even in the most professional settings. The tear duct gland is just a-flowing. It's so embarrassing! In my mind I'm like "Damnit, lady! Take me seriously!" and in person I'm a blubbering mess.

I forgot to mention this lady is a licensed counselor. I'm sure she's accustomed to playing with people's emotions and trying to get them to drink the KoolAid and be a counselor just like her. Long story short, she didn't agree to sign my plan.

I left her office as calmly as possible, then totally lost it in the hallway. Was she right? Was I just wasting my time? I chose my degree because it seemed like the perfect fit for someone like me: able to pick from the best of different disciplines to craft a degree that was right for you. Business and Communication were my first choices but for various reasons, weren't right for me. I feel that I'm so multidimensional. I don't WANT to just do one thing.

After calming myself down and talking to my wise colleagues and sweet husband, I decided to stay on my original path, despite what one person said. The funny thing is, I could have viewed this interaction as a sign, a fork in the road. But I had to stay true to myself and my heart. I am different.

Honestly, if I could do it over again, I would have been an art major from day one. I bought into the idea that "That's not a real job." The term 'starving artist' was ingrained in my mind. From very young, the 'paycheck over passion' ideal is indoctrinated into our everyday lives. I can't say I'm completely on the opposite path: I have a job that allows me to grow creatively, write and design every day, with great people. I should be counting my blessings. But eventually, I'd like to really follow my dreams- do meaningful work( to me) . And I believe the more you learn, the more you grow, so grad school is definitely a step in the right direction.

What do I want to do with my life? I'm not certain. But happiness is a journey, not a destination. If I ever get complacent and too content, I'm not working hard enough. They never said it would be easy: they just said it would be worth it.


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