“Astronimer”, somebody who studies geography, or “vetnarian”…

Today’s Daily Post prompt:

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?

Well, in the ultimate throw-back Thursday, let’s see what I wrote in my school journal in fourth grade for the answer to that question.

October 2, 1992 (Age 9, a little over a month before my 10th birthday). Entry copied exactly how I wrote it, spelling mistakes and all:

I’d like to be three different carreers when I grow up. An astronimer, somebody who studies geography, and a vetnarian. But I’d rather study geography. I don’t think I could be all three. But studing geography sounds interesting. Or maybe I could be a social studies teacher at a middle school. Then I could go to different places and bring back stuff to teach the class with.

How “close or far” am I from that vision? Let’s see.

An “astronimer” (sic). That means astronomer of course. Ever since we did a space unit in 2nd grade I’ve had a life-long interest in astronomy. As a kid I was certain I’d be an astronomer and I had every intention to go into space. Um, that hasn’t happened. I 99.9% doubt it will (the remaining tiny percentage is for the “never say never” part). So, pretty far from that vision. I will always be enthusiastic about all things space and astronomy though, but only on an amateur, general level. As a kid I was more interested in collecting facts — how many moons does each planet have, what are their names, how far away from the sun the planets are, etc. Nowadays I’m more interested in the bigger questions.

What about geographer? Growing up I was always interested in geography and looked up US states and other countries in the World Book Encyclopedia (no Wikipedia in those days). Countries other than the US were just fascinating to me. That encyclopedia set we had was from 1963, so they were nearly 30 years out of date back in early ’90s. 😀 😀 I didn’t care, though! I devoured those World Book articles. My favorite part of the articles was the section on the people (of each state or country). I wanted to know where they came from, what their ancestry was like, everything. I’ve gotten a chance to travel quite a bit, thanks to study abroad during grad school and then to team meetups for my job. How would I have reacted if I’d known I’d work for a company someday with colleagues from every continent the world (except Antartica, haha)? In college I briefly flirted with the idea of minoring in Geography but ended up not doing so after taking an intro class. The professor was incredibly boring and I fell asleep nearly every class. It’s a wonder I passed — my notes were all chicken scratch (I’d fall asleep in the middle of writing them). Oh well, I still love the subject but not enough to be “someone who studies geography”.

What about “vetnarian”? 9-year-old spelling mistakes aside, this is veterinarian. I love animals a lot, especially cats. But I have no desire whatsoever to be a vet. 😀 I couldn’t handle surgeries or putting animals to sleep. Nope. Also the pressure of any medical field would be too high for me. You’re dealing with lives, and one mistake could have serious results. 🙁 I have the utmost respect for those who are able to work in these careers and handle all that comes with it! What I can do is take care of my kitty, Harmony, and love her and spoil her left and right.

Finally, a social studies teacher at a middle school. This is somewhat related to geography. I have no idea how this particular idea came to mind to my 4th grade self. I come from a family of teachers and educators. I have thought about teaching at some point in my life, but I doubt it would be social studies. And I have no idea if it would be at a middle school. Who knows, though. The closest I’ve come to teaching is working with clients at work, helping them use WordPress and related technologies for their sites. I have given a few talks at conferences for work, mostly around WordPress themes. If I do end up teaching, it’ll probably be centered on WordPress and websites. 🙂

Another possible career that I didn’t mention above was fiction writer. I spent my teen years working on a HUGE series of stories that were supposed to be the first drafts of books I’d publish after college (the plan was to major in English so I’d learn how to write). HAHAHA. That totally didn’t happen. For one, the stories were pretty awful. Mostly self-indulgent tripe that only interested me. Funnily enough, I still love the characters I created and they are quite developed. I still revisit these characters and “talk” to them. I created a bunch of characters when I was in college, too. Now they’re all waiting for a story. I have no story ideas. Yeah, I have a cast but nothing for them to star in. I’m not going to rule out writing though. One day in my life I will write a fiction novel starring my beloved characters. The issue I have with fiction writing is that I get too embarrassed to share my stuff. My characters are so personal to me, and I’m too scared to put them out there. LOL. One day. One day.

The career path I ended up following was web designer/developer. This option did not even exist back when I was in 4th grade. It started off as a hobby in high school and I was so excited that it could actually be a career. What drew me to web design, besides the technical aspects, was the ability to work with clients who were from a variety of industries. So, I may not become an astronomer, or “person who studies geography” or a vet or a “social studies teacher at a middle school”, but I can build websites for people and organizations in all of those areas. You can work with people who do vastly different things, even if you’re not doing those things. It’s even more fun when you get a chance to take a field trip to their location, to talk about their site. I’ve gotten to do a few of those for work. I’m on a team at work that does these type of projects and that’s one of my favorite aspects of the job.

So I’m happy with my career current path and I feel like I came to it in an organic way.

A quick word on my old school journals: In 2003, I was cleaning my room back at home and found the journals I’d kept at school in 2nd, 4th, and 5th grades. I typed up the entries and created a mini website to showcase them. Aside from changing names and identifying details, I left the entries unedited. Spelling and grammar mistakes and all. If you’re interested in reading entries from itty-bitty me (although it probably wouldn’t be that interesting to anyone but me and maybe my parents), check it out here. Warning: the site was created long before the modern web, so enjoy the old-skool design and tiny font. It will NOT respond to your mobile device. 😀 Have fun!

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