Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My "Not for Smart People" Major

I am doing classroom presentations this week for biology at one of the colleges I call on. I am letting the students know what materials will be required for the class and what their purchasing options are. I am trying to help them realize they need the materials to pass the class and find options to acquire them without breaking their budgets.

As I moved from class to class yesterday I was accompanied by a awkwardly high-strung sophomore who was informing students about weekly peer instruction sessions to help them learn the course's more difficult material.

I am not a rockstar presenter. I'll admit that I attempted to be early in my career. I learned quickly that the students would rather listen to just about anything else but me so I try to get in and give them the facts as succinctly as possible. My bubbly counterpart at yesterday's sessions had not learned this yet.

When she realized we were following the same scheduled she introduced herself and asked if I went to college.

"Yes. In fact, I graduated from this very college." I replied

She was very wide-eyed at that thought. Perhaps envisioning me hopping off my horse with a bonnet on my head and a slate board under my arm.

She asked me what I majored in and I said journalism.

"OH MY GOSH! I was valedictorian at my school and I came here on a communication scholarship. I started out in that program, but they told me 'Girl, get out! You have too much going for you to stay here!' So I moved over to biology where I am totally challenged. I mean the classes in communication are all easy and fun but now I have to really buckle down. I am going to be a doctor! I scored 110% in this class last year so I am going to guide these students to better grades. I am going to be their leader!"

She said all if this in about 3 seconds. I just stared at her. She had no idea she just slammed me and my "not for smart people" major. But, I did admire her determination and her spunk. I have no doubt she will take her impossible percentage and go on to become a doctor of all that is awesome. 

As the day wore on her exuberance faded not one bit. I was so intrigued because I remember being so excited and manic when I started college. The possibilities were endless. I went from pre-vet to marine biologist to psychologist to journalist. In the end, I majored in what I knew. I had big plans when I started college. I think those big plans are so important even as reality sets in.

I never made it to veterinary school and the psychology option lost me when I found out about all the animal testing. So I didn't land a career that gets me the big bucks and a superstar on my door. But, I do have a solid job and I get to help others reach their dreams. I may not have majored in smartness but I think I did okay.

The truth is that I love to write. Some days I write better than others but it is an outlet I enjoy. It relieves my stress. It helps me think clearly. It is my best form of communication. I enjoyed everything about journalism except the deadlines. Once one was met another one was glaring. I didn't want that in a career. I didn't want a life governed by deadlines. We all have deadlines to met but hard deadlines day after day was the deal breaker for me. 

Though I don't wax on poetically in my career now I do have opportunities to hone my skills. And, I am surrounded by the written word which is a total perk. So, I am definitely not the smartest person in the world but I am smart enough. Smart enough to know that life is good. Life is good indeed.

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