Thursday, February 21, 2013

Future Letters to my Son

So I've decided to do a fun weekly feature on my blog on Thursdays. It will be called "Future Letters to My Son" Everyday, On my way to work before dropping Grant off, I'll talk to him as if he is twenty, giving him the harsh realities of the world.  Offering him great advice that he should follow when he  is an adult. I'll tell him how he should treat a lady when he is in a relationship. I'll tell him how to survive the work world. I'll tell him that there will be times in life when you'll feel lost and unsure what to do. I tell him the heavy stuff. I know Grant is just a baby, and obviously has no idea what I am talking about. But it is refreshing to know what kind of advice I would like to give Grant when he is old enough to understand it. I'm prepping myself 15 years in the making, so I'll sound like a wise owl when I offer him my life advice. I thought it would be fun to do a weekly entry of letters I would like Grant to read in the future. Letters to him, offering my advice about all kinds of things-life, love, education, and everything in between.

So here is the first letter for Grant (With my fun header I created, with a picture that I took like 8 years ago.)

 Dear Grant,

     When you graduate from high school, you don't have to have your entire life figured out. You don't have to instantly decide what you want to do when you grow up. Because really it takes more growing up to figure out what you want to do with your life. You have time. Don't feel pressure that you have to go to college or that you have to have a what you want to study in figured out. I rather you wait for awhile to go to college to make the right decision of what you want to do, instead of jumping into in because you feel pressured to. (Or feel like that is what you have to do because it is the norm).

I will say I am nearly 29 years old, and I'm still unsure what I want to do with my life. (Career-wise at least) I went to college, since it seemed like I would not have any other opportunities. Going to college is the way to get ahead. It's the way to survive. It's a way to get a decent job. You see, when my parents where younger, the opportunity of college wasn't there. I mean it was there, but it wasn't always an option. If you had the money and resources, you go to college. You could get by and get a decent job without going to college. But in my generation, its pretty much graduate from high school and automatically go to college. That is the next step without thinking about it. So of course that is what I did was go to college after high school. I was unsure what I wanted to be. It's hard to expect a 18 year old to instantly decide what they want to do for the rest of their life, and really be sure that its the best decision. When I went to admissions to plan my classes, the adviser asked me what I wanted to major in. Depending on what I wanted to major in, I would need to start taking some of the classes related to my field right away. So I felt like it that moment was my life altering decision. A decision that I felt confident at the time, but not really understanding the levity of it. I was toying around with the idea of majoring in photography. (Which I'm glad I did not major in that) but was on fence with majoring in Early Childhood Education, because I enjoyed working with kids. I decided to major in Early Childhood Education. I worked really hard to pay for college on my own, I went through the program with flying colors and I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education. I felt on top of the world and ready to use my new degree and make a difference in the world.

But the problem is life happened and reality set in. You see, learning something in books, studying it, and talking about it for four years, is nearly not the same as actually experiencing it. I looked for jobs, and had little success. With my degree and field, (since I'm licensed to only teach K-3) it is actually really hard to find something. I ended up subbing for a year, and it really jaded my outlook on wanting to be a teacher.  I wasn't happy with the experience. I found myself questioning my skills, and questioning if that is what I really want to do with my life. Needless to say I've graduated from college for almost 6 years now, and I am not in a job related to my degree. Having my degree got my job, but I really could have had any degree to get it. Now I wonder if I ever do decide to get another job, how I really don't want to go into teaching which means I'm pretty not qualified to do anything else. This is why I regret not having the opportunity to really realize what I want to do with my life. Sometimes I wish I had a business degree and had a marketing job. The job I have now made me realize what I am good at and what I could do in the future. Problem is I don't have the educational background to get me to my career path. And continuing my education to get another degree or masters, I feel would be a waste of money and resources.

I can't tell you how many friends I have where I am starting to see this vicious cycle. They go to college, hopeful with the degree they have. Spending thousands upon thousands to get that education. Taking out loans and piling up the debt. But when they get in the workforce world they realize either their degree was a pipe dream, and it's impossible to find a job in that field, or it is not what they want to do. Then they find themselves spending more money to get a masters in a field they decided they would really be happy in. And then it's catch 22, you can't find a job in your field because you don't have the experience even though you have the degree. But if you have the experience but not the degree, you still can't get the job.

Being adult is frustrating.  It's hard to figure out what you want to do with your life until you start experiencing it. I sometimes wish that they redesign the college program. Have students do field work the first year in different things they are interested in (instead of waiting the fourth year after they spent all their time and money going through the program) and then make the decision based on that, what they want to pursue their career in. Maybe by the time you are old enough to go to college, things will be different. Maybe college will be cheaper. Maybe college will be designed differently to have more versatile degrees that can cover a huge variety of job professions. Who knows. But bottom line, I just want you to go with your gut and make the best decision. If you want to work straight after graduating from high school, I'll support it. If you don't even want to go to college, because you feel like it may not be for you, I'll support it. College is not a one size fit all. Sometimes I feel like we live in a society where it is perceived that college is a one size fit all, and everyone MUST go to college to get ahead in the workforce. Truth is, I've seen some extremely successful people get ahead without even a college degree. Follow your heart. Do what you think will really make you happy. And even if it doesn't. You may waste some money and time to find out what you really want to do. And if that's the case, then it's a learning experience. Sometimes you have to go off a few unbeaten paths to get to your final destination. Just don't feel like you have to settle with something you may not be happy with. Do what makes you happy.


1 comment:

  1. I love this idea. I tried to write a letter to Forrest once a week during my pregnancy, but I ended up losing interest in that project. :P