Thursday, April 15, 2010

This is the End

I have Jim Morrison stuck in my head, and I have since I woke up this morning. Not because I am overly fond of the Doors, but because with everything I do today I can't help singing to myself:

"This is the end.
My only friend, the end."

And that is all the lyrics I know, so it's frustrating as well as depressing. In case you are wondering why I am so morose over a seemingly normal Thursday, here is the answer:

Today is my last day of university classes.

No, I am not graduating, and no I am not dropping out because I found a sugar daddy. Actually I am pretty sure I have yet to blog anything about this, so here is the beginning of the story.

In November I realized something about myself; I did not want to be a journalist. As much as I love to write and as much of a buzz I get from conducting a really good interview, I am all for balance in my life, and I realized that if I was ever going to get to do what I wanted in journalism, I would have to make it my whole life, and I didn't want that. So, after much deliberation and prayer, I made the decision to withdraw.

For several months I was in the awful zone of the wafflers; college students who are here with no real purpose. I had no idea what to do, and funnily enough I blame this largely on the fact that I already knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a mom, and write novels.

For some reason, I couldn't justify just going to school for my writing, it seemed like a waste when really what I need is a way to earn a steady income if both my dreams failed. Neither of them really have the best employee benefits.

So, I sold out. I looked for an education that would give me a job I could earn real money at, that would not take ten years to achieve, and would let me come home at the end of the day. I figured it out at the end of February, and come Monday, I'm going to be in paralegal school.

I do not have a great passion for the writing of legal documents, but it will give me what I need and I can be out in 65 weeks. As much as I would love to spend the rest of my life studying Titian and reading Chaucer, I made this decision so I can live the kind of life I want.

The rose tinted glasses high school guidance counsellors put on me are gone. Why do they teach kids to choose a career based on their passions? If that were true we'd all be poets or professional athletes. Why can't they teach kids that it's okay not to be in love with your job, but you can just choose a career that will allow you the lifestyle you want? Work-based lives aren't that happy anyway, and I would much rather be a paralegal who has time to do the things she loves in the evenings and weekends then a journalist who is chained to her desk.

All the same, I can't help but mourn today, as I kiss university good-bye. This morning was the last time I discussed humanism and mannerism in class, an hour ago was the last time I sat in my favourite chair in the library, and at 2 o'clock, I will sit in the last lecture of my absolute favourite professor.

I know I'm making the right decision, but as with all transitions, I'm scared. There is so much I will miss about this school, and so much I will miss of university in general.


Zoey (Vegedible) said...

I agree with you to some extent, that we don't have to be in love with our jobs as long as they allow us to live the life we want. But on the other hand, I think the "do what you love" message is so important too. At the same time, high school grads need constant support to define what it is they love and plot a path to get there. There are so many non-traditional paths out there to create a job that may not yet be sitting, waiting to be filled.
There are some days when I just want to be able to go home and not think about what the next story is going to be or whether I fact-checked everything accurately. But now, there are even more days when I love the feverish pace of interviewing and writing, designing and copyediting. And of course, sharing a little R&R with the newsroom crowd afterward.

I'm happy that you're focusing on making your dreams become reality, though, because even if it's a struggle, it will be worth it eventually.

isaacsmum said...

It does not have to be the last of university elena. Universities everywhere offer lots of open studies courses (including a lot of art history) Just think when you are done paralegal school you can take an evening course or two, and only the courses that you are really interested in. Most degrees require that you take all kinds of courses that you have zero interest in...Educational policy studies....History of childhood

Janine said...

Selling out? What the freak, Elena?!? You are not selling out. You're just being smart. Good luck with paralegal school next week!

reddmummy said...

Hurrah for pragmatism, a seriously underlauded virtue. Good luck in your new program.

Peevish said...

Have you read Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford? It just might change your perspective. And your life.

woozie said...

i think it's exciting! i mean, i know what you mean about saying goodbye to college for now, but it's cool that you made this choice and i wish you the best of luck.