Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Personal Report Card

I met my soon-to-be best friend Claudie (Claudette) in college, when I signed up for the newspaper staff.  When she called to announce our first staff meeting, Claudie came off as a very cool, calm, together sounding woman.  Hanging up, my 18 year old brain proceeded to  conjure up a mental composite based on sound alone. I envisioned a tall, leggy blonde with Hollywood good looks.  A southern Daddy's Little Princess use to getting her own way.   With a sigh, I headed toward our first meet.

As I walked in the door, a short (hey, I'm 5'1" and I can say that!) woman with dark hair and a huge smiled stuck out her hand and said enthusiastically,  "Hi!  I'm Claudette.  It's nice to meet you!"

She came off as sincere and genuine.  I felt very bad for mentally prejudging.  We became friends instantly.  Sure, people claimed it was because we were the only two on campus short enough to look each other in the eye. Oh, and for the record, her Dad wasn't the Sugar Daddy type I'd envisioned.  He was a native son and stationed in my hometown thanks to the Air Force. I really must write the Air Force a thank you note one day: they provided both my best friend and Hubby, whose Dad was an AF pilot.

Claudie and I did LOTS of talking.  We still do, even it's mostly e-mail.  We live in the same state, but on opposite ends.  Plus we both seem to be the "go to" person in our families, which keeps us busy.  Too busy at times.  When she reminded me today that her son is 28 and single, I realized that by the time we were his age, we'd both been married for 6 years....and that son was 4 years old.

It was one of those "where in the world is time going?!" moments.  But instead of deep reflections or Bucket Lists (which I refuse to make), I often wonder how we decided at 18 what we wanted to be when we grew up.  Because, obviously, we didn't become that.  I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, with a teaching certificate I never used because they were no teaching jobs.  And now?  I'm Director of a senior citizens center.  Some of you will see the irony in that.  Unfortunately, if a senior misbehaves, I can't send him/her home to their mother.  Claudie got a degree in Journalism and runs the Billing Department of her local hospital.  Our friend Chuck, who sang at my wedding, stayed an extra year to get a degree in Music.  Guess he came close: he and his wife own an award winning Video Production Company in our state.  Bobby, our former Student Body President who I'd known since 1st grade, was "the smart one".  Recipient of a Harry Truman scholarship, he received a degree in Political Science.  Upon graduation he worked for his hero, one of our state's Senators.  That lasted a year, as he soon discovered a backbiting side to politics of which he'd been naively unaware.  Now he teaches history to high school students.  I'm guessing he came closest to utilizing his degree.

This all made me wonder: if you went to college, what did you major in and how did that work out?  If you went straight from school into the Big Bad World, what did you envision at age 18 vs. what did you ended up doing?

You know me.  Always curious.  :)


Rachel Fox said...

I studied languages (Spanish and Russian - though more the former than the latter). I only worked abroad whilst a student... once I'd graduated I stayed in the UK and didn't use the foreign languages at all.

I'm not really sure why this happened. Partly it was because I travelled a lot between the ages of 14 and 22... and then I realised, at 22, that I hardly knew my own country at all. So I stayed home to work there (in advertising, journalism, leisure, music, research, education, literature...). Bit of a bitty career!


Titus said...

English Literature... and then joined the police force. Loved it!
And in Scotland I've specialized in working for charities - in the training and volunteer management department, really. So no, not relevant but I do know 14 synonyms for 'arrested'.

Monkey Man said...

Liberal studies which have absolutely nothing to do with what I do now.

Jerry said...

Majored in for an energy company. I'm still trying to find the correlation.

Kim Ayres said...

As a kid I was either going to be an astronaut, or a barbarian warrior (read to many Conan stories). Into my teens and I knew I was going to be a rock guitar god. I certainly never envisaged my life going in the direction it did.

Ponita in Real Life said...

Did you watch The Muppet Show as a kid? Do you remember Dr. Bob? That was my nickname as a teenager because I would patch everyone up if they had minor injuries. It took years before I enrolled in nursing college at the age of 31. Did lots of different things in between, but I am still in nursing (albeit not working at the moment... I am busy nursing my shoulder back to health) and I love it! I've been told I am good as it too. I guess my practice as a kid paid off. ;-)

steven said...

when i was eighteen i was in high school with one more year to go. i was going to be a musician/artist/writer and make the world a wayyyy better place! i went off to university and eventually ended up with a degree in english lit and cultural studies. i had no intention of turning that degree into anything more than what it was - an opportunity to think about why i think what i think. until second year university i had always strongly disliked school. now i am a teacher. my work is to make the school experience of my students good, worthy, memorable, and especially part of their whole life passage and not just as a stepping stone to a career. steven

hope said...

Rachel: I was a Radio Dispatcher for the State Police, a Paralegal for a Legal Services for the poor and Director of Elections before the current job. I joke that after 5 years I get bored...but in this economy I'm now working on 5xs those 5 years!

Titus:I wondered what preceded police work! Like you, I've always been public service minded...which is why I'll ever be rich. ;)

Monkey Man: I wonder what people with that degree are "suppose" to do to begin with? ;)

Jerry: I will envision you singing to Mother Nature as you work to save her. :)

Kim: I would've suspected the Rock God but never astronaut! Interesting!

Ponita: yes I did! And silly Beaker is still my favorite..sorta feel like that at work: making noises of astonishment. And as much as I hate being a patient (I'm a great caregiver!) I believe you could take good care of me! So do that for yourself, will ya?

steven: after my first year in college taking education courses, I realized I'd rather write. But "sensible me" decided at least there were always teaching jobs...until I graduated! I'm sure your students will love and admire you long after they've left your classroom, because they'll carry a piece of your kindness with them.

Ponita in Real Life said...

Hope, I AM taking good care of me! And I hope that Hurricane Irene doesn't even come close to you guys... Are you safe and secure? I would take good care of you if the need arose, my friend. Now you take care!