I got to thinking today as yet another student loan bill arrived in the mail (to the tune of $800 a month I'm paying out to various institutions - when will it end?!?!) about what would have happened if I had stuck with the education major.
You see, I started college intending to earn a bachelor of science in education - integrated language arts 7-12 and a bachelor of arts in creative writing. Since I had an exceptionally high score on the old version of the ACT, I got to start my education classes right away. First college class? Introduction to Teaching as a Career. Also known as the class that weeds the wannabes out.
I was all set on thinking that I wanted to teach high school English. I planned on being like Robin Williams from the one scene in The Dead Poets Society, having students stand on chairs and yawping like Walt Whitman and I did in my American literature class in high school. I was going to inspire young minds and do all kinds of great things. Robin Williams meets Mr. Holland's Opus. Right?
Wrong. I got disenchanted. I grew up. Then I dropped the education major, picked up journalism and a whole bunch of minors and partial minors that I couldn't afford to finish and discovered that, hey, it is possible to graduate in four years.
So would I be better off now with an education degree than my super BA? Probably not. I probably still wouldn't be able to find a job that can let me move out and pay student loans because there are 123589071435698234765129387534092827 million English teachers out there.
Would I be happier? Probably not. At some point, I need to take time out of my day and write and read for myself and no one else but me. Call it selfish, but I call it survival. It's been working since middle school, so why stop now? Being a teacher means dedicating a large portion of time in and out of the classroom to students, and at this point in my life I'm not sure if I could have made that decision four years ago.
I guess that's what graduate school is for. After all, my advisor told me that, for people in the arts, that a bachelor's degree is what you love, a master's is what you want to pay the bills, and a doctorate is what you want to do for the rest of your life.
I guess I have a ways to go still.