I was thinking about it yesterday and couldn’t help but smile at the way things work out sometimes. When I was a kid (I guess technically I was a teenage but for the sake of this I’m going with kid since that’s how I think of myself at that age when I look back on it now) people were always trying to tell me what they thought I was good at and therefore what I should consider as a college major and career.
My mother used to always tell me, “You’re so stubborn! You always think you are right and you will argue the most ridiculous points to try and prove it. You should be a lawyer.” My older brother loved studying the law and politics. He wanted to be a judge when he grew up. He was involved in our local “Teen Court” which is a local program in which non-violent juvenile offenders who have already been found guilty are sentenced to punishment by a board of their peers. A 14-year old kid is found guilty of property vandalism? A jury of 13-15 year old kids decides their punishment (not including incarceration). It was usually community service of some kind but kids can get creative. Helping to lead the children’s sing-a-long to the live action Barney & Friends show that was coming to town? Oh…it happened! He loved it. I wasn’t interested. Politics? Law? Please…I had better things to do. Mom obviously underestimated my stubborness because even if it was interesting I would never admit to it.
My father used to tell me I was too controlling and too involved in everything. “You should work in Government,” he always said. Government? What is my family thinking? They don’t know me at all. My Dad would try to justify it. He would say things like, “You’d be good at it. You’re good at organization and budgeting money and you love telling other people what to do and how to do it.” As if that is what makes someone good at Government. Those skills make people good at a lot of things. The political game, I wasn’t interested. Leave it someone else.
I had other interests. I wanted to be a veterinarian…until I realized I hate science and cutting live things open. I wanted to be a pilot…until I realized that most pilots are either military or work for passenger airlines going to the same places all of the time. I wanted to be an anthropologist…an archaeologist…an author…a teacher…a librarian…an architect…a psychiatrist…a criminology profiler…a handwriting analyst…etc…
High school graduation came and I had no idea what I wanted to do because I wanted to do everything. I thought to myself, “I’m 18. I’ll go to the small college here in town and get my A.A. while I figure things out.” It sounded like a good idea. Until my friends all went away to college…and I met a guy…and made new friends…and discovered alcohol…and drugs…and parties…and then college? What college? I dropped out. A year later, I re-enrolled. I was put on probation…then suspension…then expelled. The years ticked by. I worked job after job trying to find something I loved and something I felt inspired by but nothing fit. I appealed to college for re-admission and it was granted however I was allowed to enroll in only one class per semester and I had to pass with a “C” or better. I took one class a semester for a year and a half. I took three classes total. I was pretty bitter. If I had just done it right the first time I would have been 75% of the way to my A.A. in a year and a half. Instead I had three 4.0 semesters but an overall GPA of only 1.05. Embarrassing. Eventually I was allowed two classes per semester, then three classes per semester, then I dropped out again. It felt futile.
Then I was hired at a new job. I was hired by our local Government in a customer service position. My life started to come together. I actually fit in with Government well. I understood the Government “game” and played the politics well. I started to grow both personally and professionally. I re-enrolled in school (again) and started getting A’s and B’s in all of my classes. I started to grow at work and was assigned new projects and tasks, I became our department trainer and then started leading classes for our whole division and was eventually promoted to a lead rep. I met a new man and got married. I graduated with my A.A. and my manager is planning her succession planning to find her replacement after she retires and is training me to fill her vacancy. In 10 days I begin pursuit of my B.A.
In 10 days I start FSU. In 10 days I begin chasing my B.A. in Public Administration and Political Science.
Government and Politics…ugh…I hate to admit it but sometimes…sometimes parents are right.