August 27, 2008

Wasted?

I attended and graduated from Slippery Rock University in the "typical" four years. I parted ways with that school in August 2002 with my degree in English-Writing. No, not a degree in writing novels. A degree in professional writing which, theoretically, should have left me qualified to be a grant writer, a technical writer, or possibly something in advertising.

What did I do after graduation? I worked at Hoss's Steak & Sea House until right before Christmas. A few weeks later, I got a part-time job at Giant Eagle as a cashier. Four months after that, we moved to California where I decided to be a "homemaker." Heh. That got boring real quick. So did falling behind on the bills.

So I got a job with a temp agency in a gig that lasted about a month. I worked as a receptionist for Baxter BioScience, a research company in Fremont. They created things like some sort of blood-clotting chemical/implement. *snore* After that jig was up, I got a job as a receptionist for a wholesale plumbing supply company in Union City. What they didn't tell me when they hired me is that they didn't want a receptionist, they wanted a bookkeeper. I'm about as good with accounting as my daughter is with astrophysics.

Once they realized this, they unceremoniously fired me.

I gave the job search a half-hearted try for the next few months, went on two interviews, neither of which panned out. Then I found out I was pregnant and after a little discussion, we decided I'd be a stay-at-home mom, even though it would require many, many sacrifices.

I haven't had a paying job - aside from my current babysitting gig - since January 2004. Do I miss working? I might miss it if I'd ever had a job I enjoyed going to. But I definitely don't regret making the decision to stay at home with my kids. I get to smile a hundred times a day and witness all their little milestones. I get to watch my ten-month-old toddle around, his little chubby legs taking step after step with all the confidence of Michael Phelps that he was born to do this. I get to spend my days teaching my daughter how to write and how to solve simple math problems.

At the end of each day I'm physically and mentally exhausted but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now that you know all that, I must rant. I've had people insinuate that I'm "wasting" my college degree. That I spent four years earning a degree that I may as well give back because I wasted my time and my money.

You know what? I didn't waste a damn thing. I learned more about myself and my abilities in those four years that I would never have learned had I not gone. I learned that I am a smart and capable woman with a flair for writing - which I would never have believed were it not for Dr. DiMarco and Dr. Erica Scott. I learned that I need to trust my first instinct and avoid situations that don't feel right. I learned that I had a lot of deep-seeded issues from my dad's passing that I never dealt with. I learned that friendships have a way of evolving and, sometimes, moving on. I learned that you need to drink the hard stuff before you dive into beer. I learned that the best cure for a hangover is a big, greasy breakfast and lots of caffiene. I learned that sometimes your "friends" won't have your back and will let you get into dangerous and horrifying situations with very little remorse. I learned dating your new friend's recent ex isn't the best idea. I also learned that real friends always come around again, even when you've dated their recent ex.

I learned that Literary Criticism is, hands down, the most boring college course on the face of this planet. I also learned that Interpreting Literature is the most captivating course I would ever take. Well, that and Medical and Health Care Ethics. Talk about an eye-opening course! I learned that I will hold a lifelong love of smoking [cigarettes], even though I quit four years ago, because it will forever remind me of being young, cool, and relaxed. Yes, smoking made me cool. Shut up.

I learned that the Freshman Fifteen is complete bull. It's actually the Freshman Thirty.

Most importantly, I learned to stand behind everything I say and to say it LOUD. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. As a result of this knowledge, I'm now the most honest and stentorian person I know. My husband always commends my honesty because I don't worry about stepping on someones toes or staying quiet for the sake of keeping the peace. I say what needs said and if you insist on keeping company with me, be prepared for me to be completely honest about what I think. Don't ask me my opinion if you don't want to hear it. I'm not going to blow sunshine up your ass. So if you ask me something about God, Jesus, Christianity, illegal immigration, gun control lobbyists, adultery, abortion, my thoughts on parenting, militant vegans, welfare, and many other topics that I don't wish to list, I'm going to be upfront about it.

So were the years between 1998 and 2002 a waste? Did mom and I pour about $20,000 down the drain? Did I walk away virtually empty-handed? Hell no.

I found ME.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

I also loved that medical and healthcare ethics course...what did it have to do with my major? Nothing! But it was so interesting!

Minxy Mimi said...

I agree, nothing in life is a waste of time, if you learn things, and take them with you. I was a SAHM, enjoyed it, but now due to necessity I am a working mom... and come to find out, I love it. Sure, its not a high paying job...but money doesn't bring you peace. Good for you for attempting to know yourself. I am the same as you, I have opinions and I am not afraid to voice them... Tact comes in handy!!! LOL

 
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