Keep your child-like dreams
January 28, 2014
I think every child has had at least one ridiculous dream of what he or she aspired to be as a grownup.
In kindergarten, when teachers would hand out those worksheets titled, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” we casually and confidently wrote down answers such as “a rockstar,” “my dad,” “Michael Jordan” or “a NASCAR driver.” If you are still reading this and you didn’t answer anything of a similar caliber, you were probably that one boring kid who has wanted to be an accountant since the age of 5. Kudos to you, Jimmy.
Either way, at that age the career possibilities were endless and our parents were ever supportive, no matter how crazy our career goals may have been.
While I had many career goals as a child, my most memorable and most ridiculous was my dream of one day simultaneously being the first woman president and the first woman priest in the Roman Catholic Church. Yes, you heard that right. At the tender age of five, I could not foresee the struggle this dual-career would pose: the juggling of church and state. I attribute this double aspiration to two things that dominated my childhood: listening to NPR from my car seat while my parents ran errands, and having to sit through some bad homilies at church. I figured I could do a decent job — maybe even better than the Clinton guy they were always talking about on the radio or those priests whom I never could seem to understand.
Obviously, some time passed and I moved on to more reasonable careers of “ballerina,” “artist” and “singer.” Then more time passed and I realized that maybe I should look into other careers. I’m still in the process of figuring out what I want to do.
Stephanie Fessler, senior in Social Work, attributes this “moving on” phase to an increased awareness of the world.
“As a kid, you have this list of jobs people can be in your head. You know there is a job called fireman, singer, artist; no one grows up saying they want to be an electrical engineer,” Fessler said.
She said that she has wanted to be a variety of things, including a brief stint when she wanted to be president of PETA after she witnessed calves being lassoed at the rodeo when she was 5.
“The calf was not hurt at all in this process, but as a five-year-old, I freaked out that this was animal abuse. And so I’m screaming hysterically at the rodeo about how I was going to write a letter to the president to stop the rodeo from ever happening again,” Fessler said.
Since that day, she has moved on from her dream of being the president of PETA, and now instead of having a career in animal rights, she said she wants to be involved in the rights of children — as a child welfare specialist.
Figuring out what you want to do with your life career-wise can be frustrating, but I think it’s important to remember that finding a profession you love is a process of trial-and-error. Even if our childhood career dreams haven’t quite panned out as we wanted them to — for example, I am not in the seminary nor do I have any major political aspirations — I think we should still hold on to that feeling of confidence and invincibility we had as kids. We truly believed we could be anything we wanted, and our own happiness was at the forefront of that decision.
Danielle Moyer, freshman in Media, is a perfect example. She said she wanted to be a farmer and live on a farm with just dogs.
“My dad’s family is from Nebraska. I always visited there growing up, and I thought it was a really glamorous place for some reason,” Moyer said. “It quickly faded when I realized that would be a very lonely lifestyle.”
Vikram Reddy, junior in Engineering, also saw glamour in the mundane. He wanted to be a garbage man as a kindergartener mainly because he liked their trucks and uniforms, which were both blue, his favorite color.
“As a kid, it looked exciting. You got to hop on and off the truck,” Reddy said. He would wait every morning by the window to watch for the garbage man to pull up.
Like most of us, Reddy eventually decided not to pursue his childhood dream career, and now wants to go into business consulting.
To those of you who really did pursue your childhood dream, I am impressed and inspired. For the rest of us, no need to worry, we have not grown up yet. As kids, we set our goals high and planned to do what made us happiest. Why should that be any different now?
Bridget is a freshman in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]