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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Major Decision

I need to make a major decision. I'm at a crossroad in my life.
I have the chance to choose my future. I can stay on the same
path I already started down, or I can try something new. I can't
decide which direction I want to go.

I have been taking ASL classes to improve my communication
skills. Then I'll enter in a field of study. I think I'm
ready for it now. I want to pick my degree and start taking
more classes in the Fall. But what degree do I choose?

The logical choice would be education. I already have a triple
bachelor's degree in special education. Being a teacher has
always been my dream. I could start work on a masters degree
that would lead me back into the classroom.

My official career goal with vocational rehabilitation is to be
an online teacher or tutor. I need three classes in education
in order to renew my teaching certificate. I might as well
start on a masters degree at the same time. The classes would
count for both. Kill two birds with one stone.

There's a problem with this plan. I can think of one word to
describe my enthusiasm about being an online teacher. "Blah!"
It just doesn't interest me. It doesn't thrill me at all. Maybe
I need physical contact in order to connect to my students.
Teaching on the computer seems so impersonal.

So I'm looking at masters programs with the plan to actually
teach or work with children in a school setting. There's one
program for a masters in early childhood intervention specialist.
It sounds great. Right up my alley. But what does an
intervention specialist do and can I actually perform the job?

Teaching was a rough career for me. I met with a great deal of
discrimination and issues related to my disabilities. That was
when I could still see and hear some. I can't imagine how I will
possibly be able to make it in this field now that I'm totally
deaf and blind.

I ask, "what can a deaf-blind person really do?"

The answer is always the same. "Anything you want to."

Yeah, whatever. That doesn't help at all. It's a nice idea but
it's not true. Not in the real world, anyway.

I do not want to go through all this work just to find out that
my disabilities will prevent me from being able to do the job.
After all, the idea is to be hired some day. I need to find a
career that is a good match for me. I really don't know if
education is still the right field for me. It's what I always
wanted... but is it what I still want?

Strangely, education was not the first program I looked into.
I try to tell myself it's because I happened to find the other
section first. Not true. I found English first because I was
looking for it first. What does that mean? Is it some kind of
sign that I'm moving in another direction now?

English.... It seems like it came out of nowhere. I've never
had an interest in English. Yet if you are reading this blog,
you probably know that's not true. I have a major interest in
English. I have a true love of writing.

I have several choices for studying writing. The first and
easiest thing I could do is to "go back" and get a subsequent
writing minor. That means they will add a writing minor to my
bachelor's degree.

My mother asked, "What would you do with it?" Maybe nothing. I
guess I was thinking it would give me some experience and
training with writing. It would be a chance to learn about
writing.

What am I doing with the ASL classes I'm taking now? Nothing.
I'm not even getting a grade in them. Does that mean they aren't
important? Absolutely not. They are for experience and learning
something that will improve my life. Maybe a writing minor would
effect me in the same way.

I looked at the literature and writing masters at the university.
I wasn't interested in them. My focus is more on creative
writing. Then I found something big... something truly
impressive... and scary.

There is a masters in fine arts program that focuses on creative
writing. It is harder and more intensive than a normal masters
program. It offers so much opportunity and experience. There's
even an internship requirement. It sounds perfect.

What's scary is that it's a special four college program. That
means I would have to take classes at four different schools.
These aren't just little community colleges. They are major
state universities in very large cities. I don't know if I'm up
to it. That one little issue has me ready to dismiss the whole
idea.

I want to be brave and follow my dreams. Yet I can't decide what
my dreams are. Teaching... writing... teaching... writing...
How does anyone decide? Picking a major really is a major
decision.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. There's going to school to learn and practice a subject, which is satisfying in and of itself. Then there's finding a profession/vocation.

    If you think of the degree as primarily a vocational tool, then your mom's question is relevant. If you want to do the schoolwork as an end in itself, and you can afford to do that, then more power to you, and enjoy it!

    What do people do with MFA degrees in English? They teach (30 percent of English graduates wind up working in education). They work in publishing, editing, public relations. Some work at whatever they can find while attempting to get their work published, which can be a job all by itself (trying to find a market for your creative writing).

    It is a tough decision.

    One of the things I did when I was contemplating a new career was go back to my undergraduate career center - one of the perks of graduating from my college was that you could use the services of the career center any time without charge. I took a whole bunch of assessment tests (Myers Briggs, Strong Interest Inventory, etc). The results help me refine my thinking about what field to go into. It was a useful process.

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