Another route

30 January 2014

I was having a discussion with some friends a few days ago about career paths. It got me thinking about the path that I chose to get me to where I am today. It also made me wonder, what could I have been?

In primary school I was desperate to be an actor, or a lawyer. In early high school I was a musician. In my later years I was strangely good at difficult mathematics (to a point) as well as chemistry. I was pretty woeful at English. I was more interested in visual arts and legal studies, and received decent grades for both. So why did I choose a career as primary school teacher? At my school we didn’t have any career fairs, but we did have a personality-based careers test. Apparently I’d have made a great farmer.

When it came down to choosing my degree, I couldn’t decide between studying education or criminology (much to my career counsellor’s disappointment: “Choose one!”). I said I’d take whatever offer I received first. Education it was.

Four years at university earned me my Bachelor of Education. I was a good student, and was interested in the psychology of children. Placement never went too well, and I always had a lot of trouble with behaviour management, as well as expressing myself clearly. I did not enjoy the stress of trying to create engaging lessons, particularly in regards to maths teaching. I struggled in the profession for a few years (mostly doing relief teaching) until I decided it just wasn’t a career for me. I swallowed my pride (which was actually rather easy to do) and eventually made the transition from teacher to student advisor. I haven’t looked back and am so grateful for the new opportunity and path that had opened up to me.

Now I wonder, what would have happened if I chose a different degree to study? I was really interested in maths and science but completely ignored the idea of studying these at a university level, as I thought I just wasn’t smart enough. Now I think of it, I believe a career in science would have been perfect for me, as I am often introverted in the workplace and really enjoy working alone. I also think a career in design would have suited me well. These paths never even occurred to me when I was 17. I have no idea why I chose to study education. However, I am glad I did choose it, because it enabled me to teach in Costa Rica, to finally realise the profession wasn’t for me, and to have the career path I am now following. I didn’t even know the job I have now was even a possibility for me, and now I’ve developed a great interest in tertiary education as well as international studies. I think I even want to be an ambassador. We’ll see.

If I did chose to study science, or design, I wonder where I’d be now? I wonder if I’ll ever go to university or dramatically change careers again. Are you now doing what you thought you’d be doing when you were 18?

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