My Do-Over

Most kids grow up dreaming about being Somebody some day; Somebody Important, Somebody Powerful, Somebody Who Gets Shit Done. I didn't.

I didn't really dream of being anything at all. My mother liked to tell me I'd be a pediatrician because she thought I liked kids. I didn't (and don't) particularly like kids, but I do respect them and believe they should be treated like people (rather than animals). I took a career placement test the summer before my freshman year of college that revealed I would excel at being either a garbage collector, a lawyer, or a teacher. Yes, I see the thread of commonality there.

Despite my test results, I double majored in English and Women's Studies while double minoring in Photography and French. Don't ask me what I thought I'd be doing with any of those degrees. Then I headed off to grad school in Boston for an MFA in Poetry, but wound up with an MA in Publishing because I'd be done faster (single parenthood changes your mind about these things).

Do you sense a trend? I have a bunch of degrees that lead to absolutely nothing concrete. There's no career that automatically translates from all those interdisciplinary studies. So what do I do? I write. That's what I thought I'd do, but it was going to be different. Famous last words, right?

So if I could have a do-over, knowing then what I know now, here's what I would dream of doing with my grown-up life:

-- Psychology or counseling. I struggle with co-dependency, but dude. I'm a great listener and seem to be pretty perceptive. I would love to work with at-risk youth or women from high-risk backgrounds.

-- Advocacy or lobbying. I'm not sure who or what I'd advocate for, but when my passion is targeted in a focused direction, I am a formidable opponent. I think I could be an asset for healthy change at a policy level.

-- Commune dweller. There's a part of me that just doesn't want "it all." That part of me would be a-okay with living off the land with a community of like-minded people.

What about you? If you could do it all over again, where would you wind up?

**This post is part of Girl Talk Thursday**


  • Cheri

    Think I'll just join you on the commune and give up all the trappings of commercial life. Sounds relaxing right about now.

  • Bibliomama

    I like psychology or counseling and commune dweller. I'm at the beginning of getting a library tech degree, and I wish I'd done a Master's in Library Science or even what I'm doing now instead of my MA in Comparative Literature when I knew bloody well I was never going to be a university professor. Hindsight...

  • suzannah | the smitten word

    let's live in community and raise our little people and chickens together;)

    i have a degree in history and religion and did a semester in dc studying poverty and community development. i think i still want to be an organizer...

    you could do a lot of things serving women and at-risk youth (or advocacy for that matter) without a specific degree. just sayin':)

  • Caroline Ross

    I love reading your stuff.....but I'm still not getting garbage collector. I can see the through line, ironically....in a true literary irony sort of way....but not REALLY.

    AND, I think with the degrees you have you could do any of these things....go ahead! Of course, you would have to get a little more education to counsel. But you can do it. Doctor heal thyself!

    Oh, and if you decide on the commune life, let me know. I'm right there with you. SERIOUSLY!

    As for my do over. I'd want to be a writer or a college professor or a missionary or an Advocate for Health Care change! See, we're in this together girl! Not so much policy though....I'd like to work on best practices within specific organizations....management. BUT, I'd really like to advocate for Mental Health Care Efficacy.....there is still WAY to much stigma. I'd shout it from the mountain tops!

  • Caroline Ross

    So, I tried to enable email, but I can't find the dashboard!!!!!! Call be crazy. I know where it is on my blog, but that is wordpress. So, I'm LOST!

  • Anonymous

    I'd be good with the commune. Seriously.

    Especially if we all helped each other with the kids. There are parts of kid life I'm great at and then there are the other parts where I suck. Yeah.

  • The Drama Mama

    A commune dweller? Really? LMAO. You are too funny. I had aspirations of being a research psychologist and developing ways for kids with learning disorders to study more effectively (and the Nobel Peace prize that comes with it, LOL) when I was 20-something, but....

    If you decide to work with at-risk youth or women from high-risk bckgrounds, you can count me in on that too. I'd love to run a run-away/pregnant teenager home. You can come help me, no degree required.

  • Anna and Drew

    Kindergarten teacher...but without the worries of underpayment, understaffing, budget cuts and politics.

  • Katie Jones

    Funny that someone's do over is my current job - Kindergarten teacher! :)

    I'd be a professional organizer.

  • Cheryl

    Can I dwell in your commune? That sounds simply perfect!

  • Diane

    Garbage collector, lawyer, or teacher? WHAT IN THE WORLD. I'll be sure to pass that on to my friends with JDs who don't know what to do with them -- be a garbage collector! It's JUST AS GOOD.

  • Draft Queen

    OMG. Your college career sounds like mine! Except it took me FOREVER to end up with a double major in US Government History and Political Science with double minor in Life Sciences and Legal Studies.

    My masters will be in Political Science. And then maybe I'll head to law school for a JD.

    I'm pretty sure I'll be in politics. But for now that minor in life science totally came in handy for my current job as a lab assistant!

    My do-over? I'd settle on a major ten years ago so I'd have a degree by now!

  • Janine

    I think I need about a week to think about that one...but actually my post today may be my answer! Loved seeing the pics in Wed. post...I've been offline this week and have really missed it. Good stuff! I think you'd be great working with at-risk kids or women...good listeners with sound advice are few and far between these days...

  • TKW

    Giggling about the garbage collector, lawyer or teacher!

    Whenever I took aptitude tests like that, I got something in the public servant category (nurse, teacher). I guess it was correct, since I became a teacher and loved it.

    Now? I honestly don't know. Is that sad?

  • Honey Mommy

    Hmmm.... I'm actually good with where I ended up. I got a Bachelor's in Psychology and from there ended up with a Masters Degree in Information Resources and Library Science. So now I am a librarian, which suits me just fine!

  • Janine

    Guess What? You're a winner! You won the Sunshine Award! Go to my blog for details...= )

  • Heather

    Wow, didn't realize you went to so much school! Wonderful!

    I would do nothing different. I mean that. Maybe just lived it up a little more! haha

  • Penny Williams

    I too went to college and got a fairly useless degree (my dad is still upset about it 15 years later). My do-over career dreams mostly center around my son's special needs: (1) occupational therapist; (2) ADHD coach; (3) special education lawyer; (4) nutritionist (people who know me would laugh themselves silly over that one; (5) photographer.

    Funny thing is, all I dreamed of as long as I can remember is being a writer. I am doing that in my spare time on my blog and with a couple pieces picked up by ADDitude Magazine. Still aiming for the stars with a published book. :)


  • Brittany

    I remember taking those job placement tests haha....I think I got garbage collector too and something weird like graphic designer.

  • XmasDolly

    You need a college education for a garbage collector? LOL Now, that's too funmy! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.

  • Anonymous

    So how's this: I am a counselor who dreams of being a writer! the trouble with counseling is that alot of people who really need counseling don't want it. Like teenagers and women from high risk backgrounds. And sometimes for good reason. I rmember working with this mom whose children we're removed for various reasons. One thing she needed to do to get hem back was go to counseling. But because of her own history of abuse, everytime she went she would feel worse and really fall apart only giving more reason for the state to think she couldn't care for her children. It was very sad! For the most part I love being a counselor but about half my time at work is spent dealing with provider issues and administrative junk! Well, I could go on! So I do alot of dreaming about being a writer/photographer/poet. Not saying I'm very good at it. In fact I think I failed a creative writing course in college(mostly due to procrastination or inability to get my thoughts on paper!) But right now mine is the only predictable paycheck and health insurance. So I'll just keep on blogging! And thanks for being such a faithful reader and commenter! It really means alot!!

  • VKT

    I'd still want to be a teacher. I really love teaching little kids. I am really impressed by all of your credentials. I would think that they would open up all kinds of doors for you career wise. You definitely have a talent for writing. I had to chuckle when you wrote about the common thread of the careers identified by the career placement test....lol. Have a great day tomorrow!

  • Debbie

    nice to meet you! I am your newest follower..great post! I married young..had kids..and then started over as a single mom! there is lots I would do over... I guess if I could do any thing? I would have joined the peace corps..! Insetad I try now to over come and provide...its not all bad!!:) just not what I expected...ya know?

  • Jami

    Ha ha ha! Kelly, I would do any of those things too! I have recently been thinking I need to get my hands on some babies again, as I have had a dry spell from working with the new mommies. And I SO love teen girls, I would love to talk to them about self esteem or bullying or even teen parenting. But seriously. I have a degree in Linguistics. Who would hire me? and with 4 kids, there is NO WAY I am going back to school. So here I sit. But if we moved to the commune I could assist the midwives, so I'd be all over that! LOL

  • Kelly Miller

    I'm ready to move to the commune ladies!!! We have our bases pretty much covered. Wouldn't it be awesome?!

  • Anonymous

    i am jealous of your degrees. but i'm also jealous of people who dwell in communes. i want it all apparently. :)

    thanks as always for stopping by alabaster cow! oh and you've found your calling - you're a great writer! :)

  • Heather of the EO

    Um. That test that tells you what you should be gave me two of the same answers as yours!

    Then I got a degree in psychology but I didn't really know why...then I was a social worker and I loved it but it's exhausting (obviously)

    Now I want to write. but I don't know what. maybe I'll know when I'm like 50.

  • ChefDruck

    I don't want a do over because I don't want to throw away anything I've done. But I do want to keep on doing, keep on reinventing myself, keep growing, keep learning. I have a degree in European History and a Masters in Business. But now I want to write. And cook. And take pictures. So in my next chapter, I want to get an MFA, go to cooking school, and really work on my photography. And then we'll see where that leads.

    Thanks for a great post to get me thinking!

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