Remember that one toy you just had to have when you were little? The highly coveted item that you begged your parents for, drooled over in stores and dreamed about every night while you drifted off, clutching your old teddy bear?
If you do, then you probably also recall that sense of immeasurable anticipation as the next birthday or holiday rolled around with the Holy Grail of toys finally in your grubby little hands. After ripping off the colourful paper and ribbon and with kinda reading the card, you’ll probably most vividly remember the crushing sense of disappointment at how your perfect dream, just wasn’t as fantastic as it seemed once you got it out of the box.
Your thoughts filled with all of the other Lego sets and Easy Bake ovens you could have asked for, instead of the dull – and getting duller by the second – thing you just opened.
I’ve come to understand that post-diploma life tends to illicit the same sort of dream squashing reality – initially, that is.
I’ve been lucky enough to know that I’ve wanted to be a journalist for the majority of my short life. Since we were hauled into the library of my junior high to watch CNN on September 11, 2001, and then asked to write an article about the events the world had witnessed that day, I knew that telling stories with words interspersed with quotation marks was my calling.
So I toiled at youth and university publications and eventually got accepted to a journalism program to learn the ropes of the career I had admired like Mattel’s newest Barbie.
And for a few years, that’s exactly what I did. I wrote, edited, listened and observed – I actually became the word smith I had aspired to become for years.
However, just like the aftermath of unwrapping that ideal present, while holding my diploma and notebooks full of knowledge, that familiar dream-squashing sentiment set in.
All of the shiny other majors with job prospects and networking possibilities were seemingly more attractive in the post-grad glow. Classic the grass is greener on the other side of the fence syndrome.
But herein lies the difference between toys and careers. Now, we have the adult ability (and responsibility) to be confident in our choices.
We can now make the conscious decision to believe in the education we’ve gained. The experiences in and out of the classroom have, at the very least, given us a foundation to build our careers upon, regardless of whether it’s in the field of our degree or if it was just a jumping-off point.
Maybe somewhere on the way to pomp and circumstance, you detoured and clicked with another area of interest or even another career goal entirely. We are allowed to change our minds and, more importantly, we are allowed to recognize that dreams can change along the way, too.
For myself, I’m still a news journalist at heart, but I might just entertain the possibility of television producing or magazine lifestyle writing. But until I figure it out, I have a whole lot of Barbies that deserve some attention.