Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 324 - "I'm the World's Greatest"

Take a deep breath.  Hold it in for a moment to savor the oxygen high.


I'm making a big decision.  I have yet to figure out if people in my life are going to accept it and support me in my decision, but I feel that, after some soul searching, that I've been false to myself this past year.

I'm done with applying for higher education administration.  Not with applying to grad school in general, but for that specific career track.  As much as I would love to delve into that profession head on, I don't feel that my heart and soul would be in it for the rest of my working life.

Why the change, you ask?  I sat back and thought about it.  While it would be nice to possibly have my future children's college educations paid for because I would be a school employee, I would want to be able to be there for my family.  Granted, conferences and research and 12-14 hour days mentoring, working, and advising aren't a requirement, but it leads to those who truly care about the field and the students in it. 

It's not that I don't care about other people; it's just the opposite.  I do care about other people.  I could never go into a profession where the people come last and business and making money come first.  But keep in mind that I was raised in a house where my mom called off every time one of my sisters or I was sick.  Both parents were at every hotstove softball game where I sat the bench seven out of nine innings, every band competition, every track meet where I came in last place or somewhere close to it.  My parents were there because they arranged - or in my mom's case, gave up - their plans for their careers so that they could be there for us.

And, if in the future I do have children, I want to be the same way.  I want to be able to be there for my kids, if they exist in the future.

So I've simply changed my mind.  I'm going for my MA or MFA in creative writing and then on to become Dr. Ashley Whatever-My-Last-Name-Is-At-That-Time, PhD. 

I think it goes back to something like this that I saw during a band movie night when I was in high school:

Yup, it's Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.  Best. Movie. Ever.

After I saw that, I wanted to be an English teacher.  I wanted to show students the hidden treasure in literature, the tiring but worthwhile self-discovery in writing, the beauty that comes from the human voice uninhibited colliding with paper and space and tangibility.  Somewhere, though, I lost that.  I lost the desire to uncover the great treasures hidden in dusty tomes, to hide my treasures on shelves of some distant library, to "sound my barbaric YAWP from the rooftops of the world."

I had a high school English teacher that made us YAWP.  She always spelled it in all capital letters because she said that YAWP was not a word to be spoken softly or meekly.  It was meant to be shouted, to be screamed - to unleash the primal being in all of us!  She made us stand on desks and YAWP at the tops of our lungs, and she would follow suit, clearing her desk of organization and papers and YAWPing right along with us.  I wanted to be her, and even though I don't feel I could do it with high school students, there's still a chance.

And, some day, after I'm Dr. So-and-So, I'm going to have my writing students stand on tables and YAWP the first day of class.  With capital letters and without shoes, if they so choose.

Because that's who I am.  At my core, I am a writer, and there's nothing I can do to change that.


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