When I was five, I wanted to be a princess. I played with Barbies incessantly and loved dress up. I had a few baby dolls, but I was never the baby doll type. My friends could push the stroller and play in the toy kitchen. I had more important things to do, such as dance in front of the mirror and watch Snow White.
When I was seven, I wanted to be an astronaut. I checked out every book about space that I could from the school library and day dreamed about soaring through the stars and planets. I even wrote and illustrated a book in fourth grade that detailed my class's trip to the great beyond.
When I was a junior in high school, I watched China's Lost Girls, a National Geographic documentary featuring Lisa Ling that chronicled the plight of baby girls born in China under the country's one child policy. I also wrote my first essay and bam, there it was. I wanted to be a journalist.
I have worked for two newspapers, written for a few magazines and am almost done with my master's in mass communications.
But, I’m still confused. I have a wonderful life with an amazing husband, and I know that I like my coffee black and my eggs poached. What I don’t know is what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was an undergrad, I changed my major a few times, eventually settling on my first choice of journalism. I knew I loved to write, I loved seeing my name in print, and I loved hearing the impact that my writing had on others.
Then I graduated. Unfortunately, dreams don’t always translate into financial stability. I was stuck at a small town newspaper, wasn’t making much money, and I had no clue how to get out of it.
Not being content with being a “starving artist,” I was desperate for change and felt as though my life was stuck at a standstill.
Enter grad school. It took me awhile to decide what program to pursue. I first thought I wanted to get my MBA since I could complete it online, but when I found out I would have to take leveling courses, I changed my mind.
I was scared of leaving the town that had been home to me for four years, but something had to give. The words of my favorite journalism professor saying, “You need to go to grad school — you need to be writing” haunted me, as well as the adulation I received from newspaper readers.
Maybe I should be writing, I thought to myself. Maybe I need more education to further my job opportunities.
I applied to OSU and the rest, as they say, is history. I told my boyfriend I was leaving, and I packed up my stuff and moved to Stillwater. Much to my surprise, my boyfriend of two years, now my husband, quit his job and also moved to Stillwater. He now has a great job in Tulsa and thanks me for giving him the push he needed to get out of Durant. I, on the other hand, am terrified.
Daily, the thought of What the heck am I going to do when I graduate? crosses my mind. Since I am graduating in May, I had better hurry up and decide, huh?
I was hoping that graduate school would give me the direction I needed, but I’m just as confused as ever. I freelance write, which I love, but freelancing won’t pay the bills. My husband has a great job, but I wouldn’t be content sitting at home.
Writing makes me happy; writing is my passion. I guess my very vague professional goals are to find a job that I enjoy that either focuses on writing or allows me to continue freelancing.
I would love to spend a year writing a novel that I’ve been mentally working on in a quaint house on a beach somewhere, but I’m smart enough to know that’s definitely not in my immediate future.
I would love to be a magazine editor. Tulsa has a few local magazines; I plan on applying to work at them, either as a staff member or freelancer. Being an editor would allow me to use both my management skills and mass communications knowledge that I have amassed since being at OSU.
Is it bad to say that I’m open to a variety of occupations? I just want to find one that I enjoy, that pays well and that allows me to use my skills and education. Basically, I plan on applying to jobs that interest me and that I’m qualified for.
I hope that the arrows will point the right way and I will find what I was meant to do. I’m not one to rely completely on fate. I mean, I asked my husband out on our first date. But, things have worked out pretty well for me so far, and I hope that they continue to do so.
Why am I so confused? I’m not sure — I always have been. It might be because I’m interested in a lot of things and struggle to recognize what my strengths are. Despite being told I’m a good writer, I can’t help but feel as though I will never be as good as other writers. I often read articles that make me wonder if I should even be writing.
I’m also interested in nutrition. My parents encouraged me to become a nutritionist, but I’ve struggled with my weight and food for as long as I can remember. I didn’t feel like I could tell someone else how to eat.
I also love anything beauty related. I wanted to go to beauty school after high school, but my parents told their straight-A daughter that college wasn’t an option; it was mandatory. As my mother put it, “You can get a psychology degree and be a psychologist that cuts hair.”
My personal goals? I want to be an amazing wife and someday a mother. I am 26 years old and am not yet ready to have kids. I realize that balancing a career and motherhood is going to be extremely difficult.
That is the woman’s dilemma: do we pursue a career, have kids or attempt to do both?
I would like to work for a year or two after graduating and save money, so that when my husband and I do decide to have children, I can stay home with them during their early years and my husband won’t feel the pressure of having to completely provide for the family.
I would also like to expand my freelancing jobs to enable me to continue contributing to the income of our family while staying home with my children.
I would like to have two kids, a year or two apart. Once they’re old enough to go to school, I would like to find a flexible job that would allow me to be mom first, employee second. I realize this is the dream and not always possible, but I enjoy working and I want to be a great mom. If working full time hinders me from being the kind of mom I want to be, I will work part time or even teach.
I will have my alternative certification to teach journalism in Oklahoma by the time I graduate; a teaching job would be great because I would have days off with my kids. I want to be able to be there for my children when they’re sick, attend class parties and take snacks to games and practices.
In my personal personal life, I am trying to focus on a healthy lifestyle. After getting married in July and commuting to Stillwater four times a week for graduate school, I am tired. After a long day, I struggle to workout and eat healthily. I believe making a healthy lifestyle a priority will also help me in my professional life, especially as I begin looking for jobs in a couple of months.
The things that are most important to me are my husband, my family, my health and my career, in that order.
My expectations for my life are that I will be a great partner for my husband and a good mom when the time comes. I expect that I will start a career after I graduate and work for a couple years, further building my skills and expertise and helping my husband prepare financially for a family.
When we decide to have children, I will devote a few years to being a mother and continue to freelance and possibly work part time or teach part time. When my children go to school, I will reenter the workforce and continue to be a great wife and mother.
I don’t want to be rich or famous. OK, well the rich part would be nice, but I really just want to have fun and enjoy life because I’ve seen firsthand how short life really is.
I want to work to live, not live to work. I just want to have a successful career doing something that I enjoy and be the best person that I can be for my family. I want my husband and kids to know that I loved them unconditionally and did everything I could to make sure that they had the best life possible.
And if I ever get to spend a year on the beach writing a novel, that would be great too.