I feel a bit in a ramble-ish mood today, so I thought I would just talk to you guys about something I’ve been thinking a lot about with the end of term coming up.
So I’m currently attending my local college, working towards an AA in English, but eventually I want to go to university for library and information sciences. The reason for this is because I want to work in a library, as a sort of career to support myself until (or if at all) I can write as a career. I’ve known since I was about thirteen or fourteen that I wanted to be an author of fiction, but I also knew that supporting oneself with solely novel writing is an unreliable source of income at best, especially when one is first starting out as a published author. Thus I started looking for a backup plan, and found one that I think I will enjoy just as much as writing. I mean, what better way to spend my days than being surrounded by books?
But now I’ve been looking at the steps I’m having to take to achieve the backup plan, and I’m starting to notice a trend. I’m not using my education to pursue my true passion; instead I’m essentially going to school to get a job that will pay the bills. And it’s a bit more complicated than that, I know, but you see what getting at, right?
My whole life, I saw knowledge as a bridge, not a compass; a thing that you get just to boost you onto the next step, and not a thing to lead you onward without a true end destination. And I saw college as something you do because you need to gain essential skills for your passions to manifest into a job. At least, that’s what I thought it would be for me. Turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Maybe you’re wondering why I’m not majoring in writing, because that’s what I want to do, and don’t I need to hone my skills for my passion? Well, the way I see it, I’ve been honing those skills for five years, teaching myself by learning from the people and books around me as well as putting hundreds of hours to practicing. I self taught myself how to write everything from essays to full-fledged novels, and I’m still learning every day. But I don’t think I nessessarily need classes and a diploma to tell me how to write. I actually learn a lot of things by self-teaching myself, but I learned this fact by self-teaching how to write by myself. I’ve never taken a creative writing course in my life, I tossed many conventional writing strategies out the window in grade school, and trained myself to know when those rules apply and when to go against them for the right affect.
Being a librarian on the other hand…
You need a degree for that; it’s required, and in any case, I need to learn those skills from an expert, cause there’s a lot about running a library that I’m not going to be able to just figure out. So I’m perfectly fine with putting in the work needed to get that qualification.
I suppose what I’m getting at is that my whole life I looked to the stereotypical lifestyle of going to college for a certain job, getting that job, and then retiring from the same job, nothing else. That that career is it, it’s the one and only thing you are passionate about. It is your life. And turns out, that’s not going to be true for me. And that’s okay. I doesn’t mean that I’m doing something wrong, or throwing away my money and my education. It just means that I have more than one passion.
And the other thing I’m learning I guess is that mastery of a subject does not always entail a formal education. You don’t need a degree to write a great novel. You just need to write it.
So yeah, that’s what’s been on my mind. I hope I didn’t sound too ramble-ish. Maybe it’s a bit deep, but I had to get it out. What do you guys think? Are any of you college/university students too? Maybe in your first semester like me? Do you think about your education as a compass, or a bridge, or something else? Are you as stressed over finals as I am? (I really hope not cause that’s pretty stressed).