When I grow up

The first thing I remember wanting to be as a kid was an artist. I loved drawing and painting with watercolors and thought it would be awesome to get to do that as my job. After a few drawing competitions  with the neighborhood kids (we were a competitive bunch), I gave up on the idea and deciding that teaching was where it was at.

That may have been partially because while I was home schooled I was fascinated with the concept of going to school. I distinctly remember some of my pretend play involving how hard I’d work at homework and I’d impress all my teachers and have a ton of friends.

When I finally went to school, I discovered it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies like I’d thought. I found a group of friends online in a… okay, there’s no way to say this gracefully, but a virtual pet site. Here I learned how to use make, edit, and manipulate images digitally, as well as how to make websites. With this new skill set, I started drifting back into an artist phase and wondering if there was some way I could do what I had been doing for fun and get paid for it. The career I was thinking of there was a graphic designer, but I didn’t even know that existed.

As I entered high school I felt torn; I wanted to do something creative, but was pretty sure I was not nearly good enough to get a job in that field. I also wanted to teach, and that seemed like a sure thing.

So as I inched toward college and was increasingly asked what I wanted to have as a career, I dutifully answered that I wanted to teach. But I drew and continued to dabble in Photoshop and web design in my spare time.

And then one day in my junior year, during my art class we had a presentation about an art school and were encouraged to pick up packets to get more information. I was anxious and excited and horribly conflicted, but I picked up some information. It  sat on my desk for a good week or two as I went back and forth about whether to apply.

What finally helped me make my mind up was the day that I heard about a program specifically tailed to future teachers where students could go to the local state college, free of charge, for their senior year. Even better, several of my siblings had gone through it, so when I approached the program coordinator he winked at me and told me I was in and just needed to fill out an application.

I threw out the art school information that day, because who did I think I was? Definitely not an artist. I opted for the stable, practical option.

And then four years later I decided that, screw teaching, I want to do something else.

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