Sunday, April 27, 2014

Turning My Avocation into My Vocation

          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.

P.J. Wordsmith
English 112-7  


  1. I could really relate to this. I hear your longing to be and do something special, yet you feel it will require a long path to get there. Just trust in God and constantly pray for his direction. I guarantee he will show you a path that you may never have thought about AND that path will probably be YOUR TRUE PURPOSE in this life.

    Lawrence Collins
    BNG 112

    1. I stand in agreement, my brother. Amen!
      P.J. Wordsmith

  2. Sadly I know what it's like to feel yourself moving, and not actually go anywhere at the same time. Almost everyone in the world can relate to that in some way. I'm not really qualified to give good advice to anyone, but hopefully if people can cross off everything on their metaphorical to-do list of life, and try to hurt as few people as possible, then maybe that they can wake up one morning and at least feel content.

    Michael A.T. English 111-20.