April Fool! Alas, No
Maybe I have been holding out a bit on this blog. As Mr. J. puts it, since I started my program, I've had "one foot in and one foot out," never quite deciding whether this was going to be my life's work or not. In fact, after about my first week of grading student papers I had my first doubts about this career.
As the extremely wise Denever put it, "But then I realize that as I'm imagining what my daily life would be like, I am actually thinking about my own days in college." Another "Alas": Denever has no blog. That's a damn shame, if you ask me!
I wish I had come to that conclusion three years earlier, because she's exactly right. Now remember - I was far from the model undergraduate. Personally, I am amazed that no one ever grabbed me by the shoulders and yelled, "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life! Get it together, girl!" I did incredibly stupid things - none of which I will detail here because my mom sometimes reads this blog and since she and my dad paid for about 99.9% of undergrad . . . well, I don't want them to think that was a big, fat waste. Let me put it this way: I was in a sorority, all right? And it wasn't a professional or service one. To put it another way: I once skipped a class that only met once a week to practice for Greek Week opening ceremonies. So, if I expected undergrads to be exactly like me, I never would have been intrigued by this route in the first place. After all, who wants to be surrounded by clones of Bluto and Otter for all of her professional life?
Now I sound like an old bat, but seriously: I think e-mail and text messaging have been in many ways the best thing to happen to higher education since co-ed dormitories, but I also think they have been the worst thing.
And those two types of technology alone changed the college experience - at least from what I imagined it would be like - drastically. I never expected the poorly written, rude, bitchy and demanding e-mails I started receiving before the semester even started. After all, I had just come from Corporate America - people got FIRED for writing and sending e-mails like the ones I was getting.
I never expected text messaging to ruin any writing ability students' may have had and never expected I would be reading papers I could barely decipher because they read, "i think this speaker was cool. it was good for u 2 have a dr. come to our class."
Anyway, blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine.
Here is what I'm thinking of doing: Continuing to keep one foot in and one foot out. I truly believe in the importance of women's health issues and the necessity of comprehensive sex education. I still think the rate of unplanned pregnancy in this country is appalling (48% by latest Alan Guttmacher Institute data). But if I have to spend much of my time trying to determine whose excuse for missing an exam is legitimate and whose is complete bunk, I will go insane. (Yeah, I hear you peanut gallery - it won't be a very long trip.)
What if my other "corporate" work was my "job" so to speak - something I enjoy, something I think I'm fairly good at, but not necessarily my passion and my passion - sexual health - becomes my hobby? And not like a "I've scrapbooked twice in the last year even though I have hundreds of dollars worth of crap to cut every piece of paper ever made" hobby, but more a "we go out on the boat at least three times a week" kind of hobby?
I don't know why this didn't occur to me. After all, Mr. J. does it. His passion (bless his wee heart) is math. I know. I don't get it either. But he knew he could never teach college full-time for about a million and one reasons. He also claims he is in no way smart enough to get a Ph.D. in mathematical sciences (NOT mathematical education - as he often reminds me, there is a BIG difference!) so that ruled out that career option right there. But he teaches one or two undergrad calculus classes a year and it's enough for him. He gets to see that "aha!" moment when a student finally understands calculus, but he still gets to sit at the grown-ups table during the day.
So at this exact moment in time, on this day I am thinking I will do both. I will continue - very differently - and very slowly - with the doc, but with a "part-time" focus. My full-time job will be my corporate gig and also, digging us out from under the spectacle of disastrous proportions that is our "new" house. If it takes me three or four years to become "Dr. Teacher Lady", then so be it. That's the plan. For right now. Teaching will be my passion/hobby-which is good, considering I don't sew and I'm really bad at crafts. Stay tuned. Subject to change without notice.