Saturday, November 26, 2016

Choose Your Own Journey

Zorig and me at the ASU Gala
I love the work I do with teenagers--teaching them how to find, evaluate, and use information, sharing my passion for learning, hearing their fears and worries around paper writing and project construction as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. Yes, I love being a part of their becoming, so to speak. I also enjoy supporting fellow educators-- expanding their content assignments with research components, introducing new or better resources and/or online tools and applications, partnering with them to push our students to think critically and to cite their sources--making all of us ethical users of information. Yes, this whole Library and Information Science thing is exactly what I should be doing. And yet, as I left a colleague's classroom this past week, after giving demonstration and instruction around EBSCOHost databases, how to effectively search Google, and how to use EasyBib, I shook my head and smiled, all the while thinking to myself--"How in the world did I end up here?" 

You see, being a teacher OR a librarian was NEVER on my radar. Looking back at my High School yearbook, I proclaimed I wanted to go into International Business and Foreign Languages. Documents I completed while attending my Army Basic Training talk about wanting to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice. As I worked my way through my undergraduate degree, I had a variety of declared majors. I went from Undecided to Secondary Education-History to Business (WHAT?!?) and finally landed as an English major. 

One of the students in that colleague's classroom last week asked me how I chose my major. I tried to explain my circuitous route. The Secondary Ed History major was declared because I had some elective history courses (Colonial Africa, Latin American history) that I LOVED. So, I declared myself a history major. But then I was pushed to answer the question--WHAT JOB WOULD/COULD I get with that? Teaching seemed to be the ONLY option and far too limiting. 

With colleagues at the Gala

Then I thought only about jobs that might provide a good income. I moved from PA to ID and changed my major to Business. Then I took a required Math class and realized that while I was good with general math, even algebra or geometry, it really was NOT something I had a natural aptitude for and certainly NO passion for. At that juncture I finally had a heart-to-heart with myself. What was it that I LOVED TO DO? What was I passionate about? What did I like to learn about?

I loved to read. I loved to write. I loved to put the two together. Being an English Major became the obvious forerunner. As I discussed the change with people, that annoying question came back to the surface, "but what kind of job can you get with that as a major--besides teacher?" I didn't really have an answer. Being a teacher WAS still NOT something I considered. But I knew that if I was going to go into financial debt to pay for college--I wanted to enjoy the education I was getting. And it also became clear around this time that degrees weren't always tied to the work one does. My supervisor at the time (working at Hewlett Packard) was a personnel manager. His undergraduate degree was from Purdue in Architecture. So I got my BA in English and loved every minute of it. 

Then I floundered for a couple of years. I had a good paying job with solid benefits at Hewlett Packard and wasn't motivated to seek something other than. But one can only answer phones in a call center for so long. After dealing with a difficult customer one afternoon, I thought to myself, "I cannot do this for the rest of my life. I want work that means more. I want to make a difference." Long story short--I discovered the world of Library Science and had my Master's degree in about 20 months. I loved the course work. Initially I thought I'd be a public librarian. I loved my public library (PPLD of Colorado Springs)! 

At the Marine Ball

Then another "aha moment" hit me when I considered answering the question: "If you had all the money in the world, what you do?" My answer--I would be a perpetual college student--getting degree after degree. I love to learn. I love to open a brand new notebook, use colored pens, take notes, write papers, read. Yes, being a student is what I most loved being in the world. So I wondered--maybe if I was a librarian in a school--where learning was happening all around me--I could feed the student in me while also making a dependable income. I absolutely made the right choice! I love what I do--while teaching others (both students and adults) I learn so much myself. 

All this to is sometimes not what you expect or envision. Sometimes you don't know where you belong, until you pause, look around, and marvel at the synchronicity of your being in a time and place, doing what you're doing. This does make it challenging to give youth solid advice. Some may chart an immediate and direct course and never waver; others, like myself, may find themselves in and out of the fast lane and sometimes taking detours on dirt roads. Some may end up where there are no roads at all. No matter where you go, or how you get there.....the journey is your's to determine. My small offering of advice--YOU choose it (not anyone else!), feel free to make u-turns or change direction, and it's perfectly okay to stop and enjoy the scenery and people along the way. One never knows how a place, or person, or interaction may forever alter the path. That's the beauty of it all. And if you aren't happy--you have no one to hold responsible except yourself. Get moving and Journey on! 


  1. So truly YOU!!! Thank you. Makes me realize how much I have been taking for granted living my "Dream" job. Will appreciate CW much more tomorrow and in the future. Thank you!!!

  2. Great post as always sis...boy do I know about those u-turns, dead ends, course change, etc... My journey is definitely not over and in many ways always beginning!!