Friday, July 20, 2012

Finding My Path

For awhile now, I have really been struggling with all of the possible careers I could pursue. My undergraduate degrees  - Japanese and Ceramics - never seemed to indicate a clear path in life. In fact, while I was in school, I felt pretty consistently torn between focusing on Japanese and working in some kind of international education type of job, or focusing on becoming an artist (I won't even get into the fact that I started out as a graphic design major - there were even more options in the mix when I was still considering that possibility!).

So, over the years since finishing school, I have been an artist, but I've also held a number of different jobs, in retail, in student services... At the moment when I embarked on each of those new adventures, I thought perhaps I finally had a job that could lead to a satisfying career. However, in every new position I've held, I have eventually gotten to the point of being distinctly certain I have no passion for the life ahead of me, were the job to become a career. And now, after two years in my current position, I have reached the end of my desire to pursue this particular path, as well.

It is time for a change. *drumroll, please* I am leaving my job.

About a year and a half ago, I decided it was high time to pursue an M.A., and I was fortunate to find that the Folklore program at I.U. is an incredibly good fit for my interests. My plan, at the time, was to simply be a part-time student. I could not possibly give up a comfortable full-time job, right? So I took a class here and there when I could fit it in, and more and more I found I was struggling to continue to care about that full-time job while school was so interesting. Don't misunderstand - I work with some very nice people, and I love what this office does for students. But administrative-type office work is not my calling.

On the side, I have kept up my work as a potter all these years because I will never be able to give that up. What I have discovered, though, is that I really want to immerse myself into this world, I want to live, breathe, exist amongst potters and pottery without feeling guilty that I am neglecting some other path in life. And I can do this as a folklorist.

Finally, I had to acknowledge that I could either take the long path to my dreams and continue taking just one or two classes at a time, or I could accept that change entails challenge, and try to speed up the process despite the difficulties it might involve. Being an AI or GA in the Folklore department would allow me to be a full-time student, and it would provide some funding - being offered a position was a dream come true. So, starting this fall, I'll be an Associate Instructor in the Folklore department, and I'll be a Folklore student working on a thesis about Indiana pottery, and I'll be a potter. For the first time in my life, I feel like everything fits together, and the career path ahead of me is no longer quite so full of compromises.