I initially began writing this post almost two months ago. This mere fact speaks volumes about my ability to endlessly ruminate on a topic (read: procrastinate) and my inability to decide on a consistent theme for this blog, or my life for that matter.
The issue of coming into one’s profession has always been of interest to me. Increasingly so following the completion of two editorial internships with Canadian magazines.
I am an idealist; an eternal optimist. I’ve always placed great importance on finding the right career, but as I reach my mid-twenties, I’ve realized that the perfect career does not exist. I’ve yet to find a career that truly resonates with who I am. This sheds light on the question of whether a career needs to tick all your boxes.
I had a primary school teacher who, at the age of five, knew that she was destined to be a teacher. I have always been drawn to teaching. I started teaching dance when I was still actively studying and dreaming about a professional career. Unfortunately, even after being admitted to Canada’s only direct-entry Bachelor of Education program, (which I would have completed in French) I was still undecided. I wanted to get away and see the world, not stay in my native province for the next four years. After all, I had lived here for the entirety of my eighteen years, wasn’t that enough? My feelings were further complicated after speaking to my favourite high school teacher, who was sufficiently jaded and exasperated from her own teaching experiences. Needless to say, she advised me to consider different academic routes.
Unfortunately, deciding one’s profession at 18 isn’t something that many of us are capable of doing. I internalized the variety of opinions that came from family members, friends, teachers (and dance teachers), coaches (and vocal coaches), guidance counselors, and pastors (okay, I’m kidding on the last one.) They all had my best interests in mind, but I still felt paralyzed and could not make a decision.
I spent my summer performing with Saskatchewan Express, our province’s musical touring company. This experience enabled me to put off making a decision about my future until the last possible minute. Even once classes began at Minot State University, where I eventually enrolled, I was still driving back to Canada every weekend for performances.
My point is that many high school students and even twenty-somethings feel trapped. How can an individual who doesn’t know if they’re on the right path, be expected to pursue that path full-heartedly? What’s the point of giving something your undivided attention if you cannot vocalize why you’re doing it? Sure, they know what their community expects them to do, what would make their parents the most proud, what will pay the bills, and very little about their own passions or how their skills can improve society as a whole.