Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Real

This week has been a mish-mash of activities. My 25-year-old niece, Carly, is visiting from Ohio. She’s volunteering at the museum where my husband works—the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Va.  She’s working on her master’s degree in Historic Textiles, Costuming and Material Culture. Um, er, or something like that. Interesting, isn’t it? I never knew such a degree existed.
She is hoping either to get into teaching or museum work—although after finding out more about museums and how little they pay and so on, she’s giving it some serious consideration. I envy her on the one hand because she has her whole life in front of her—a world of opportunities. She's smart, educated, has a common sense approach to life and I think she will be fine. More than fine.
But on the other hand, it is not easy getting real about your life, no matter how smart you are.  Sometimes I think our culture forces our young people to make choices too early about what they want to do with their lives. How does an 18-year-old really know what they want to be for the rest of their lives and so are able to choose a college, a major, and a place to live and so on? When I think back to when I was 18, I know now that I didn't have a clue. Even though I knew I wanted to write. Even at 25, I'm not sure how much of a clue I had.
Very few of the folks I went to journalism school with are actually doing anything in the field, for example. One brilliant journalism major I knew is now the executive director of a small nonprofit. Another one works in fundraising for public television. Yet another is a minister.
For most of us, life isn’t a linear progression. Especially these days, many people that I know are sort of patching it together with work coming form different sources. I know my immediate world is nothing like I imagined it would back when I was in college. How about you?


Linda O. Johnston said...

That's fascinating to think about, Mollie. I majored in journalism with an advertising emphasis in college. I loved to write even then. But I wouldn't have anticipated a move to L.A., a career in law, followed by becoming a full time novelist!

Betty Hechtman said...

I have a degree in Fine Art, but I also worked on my college newspaper in various capacities including writing a weekly column. I never figured I'd work in art. The nice thing is that both my series allow me to combine making things with writing.