Why is the path to most decent careers so long and difficult? At age thirty-two, I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life. While I have accepted the required path, and am dealing with it, I still find myself astounded at the amount of time it will take to reach my goal.
People often find themselves at a loss when asked what they want to do with their lives, especially in their late teenage years and early twenties. I am a perfect example of this phenomenon. From age eighteen to thirty-two I knew that I wanted financial stability, but had no specific vocational aspirations.
I was born and raised in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, having lived my childhood in a Maryland suburb of D.C. in Montgomery County. Having what most would call a “normal” childhood, I attended Kindergarten and elementary school with nothing exceptionally good or bad happening to me. My parents divorced just before I started middle school, and I moved with my mother to Arlington Virginia to attend Middle School. In middle school, I met the first teacher I actually liked, a teacher who could actually get me interested in the material he was teaching. This was a new experience for me. I moved back to the the burbs' to live with my father while I attended high school. The word "attended" is a' propos, as I was not terribly "into" my high school experience. High school went by slowly with nothing terribly inspiring occurring to give me any ideas of what to do with my life. I moved out on my own after high school, and a failed attempt at community college which resulted in wasted money and zero completed credits.
Throughout my twenties I worked in a number of manual labor style jobs, paid my rent, and essentially “spun my wheels”. I went through life month to month, never looking far ahead or making any specific plans or goals. I worked just about every job you could imagine in a restaurant, bar, or nightclub. The long and short of it is; I made decent money, paid the bills, and wasn't going anywhere in life. A short time ago, I was injured and had to stop working long enough to lose my job over it. It was then that I was forced to figure out my future.
There is a saying; “Make your avocation your vocation”. The only thing that I know I love is history. Truly, -all- human history fascinates me. And so, with a “light bulb moment” coming about a decade later than I would have preferred, I decided to become a history teacher.
I reverse engineered my intended career into my scholastic road map. The according plan will result in my graduation from UVA in 2017 with a bachelor's degree, and, I hope, a job. Having wasted enough time prior to returning to school, I wish there were an easier, faster, and more direct path to my goal.