Sometimes I really wish I had a laptop, or even just a notebook and a pen to carry around with me. I think I’m going to invest in a journal. I spend a lot of time on buses, or walking around the city, and that makes for a lot of time spent taking in the outside world and dreaming about different possibilities. I often find myself composing mental letters too. If you were here with me right now, what would I be saying to you? Your physical presence may be missing, but you’re still in my thoughts…
I found my thoughts wandering on Saturday evening, a really lovely night half spent in lovely company at the theatre, and half spent solo, hanging out in a downtown coffee shop, curled up on a couch by the fireplace after a long winter’s stroll. I sat down with a steaming mug of tea in a deserted Second Cup; the city’s crowds stolen by bright and bustling hotspots far away from my little retreat. I pulled off my mitts, pulled out a book and began to read, and the experience immediately threw me back to my university days. I used to spend hours between classes sitting in coffee shops just like this one, reading for study, for fun, or writing notes and the occasional letter. And I loved it. Sometimes I even walked back down to the university on a Saturday night, and headed straight up to the library. I remember it vividly; on such an evening what it lacked in bodies it more than made up for in scenery, and I’d sit by the big glass window and watch the sun go down on the city, people below heading home as the day said goodbye and the night took over in front of my eyes.
Sitting there on Saturday night brought this all back to me, and reminded me how much I loved this. It also substantiated a thought I’d been hibernating for the last little while. School. I desperately want to go back. The whole reason I left in the first place wasn’t just because I couldn’t afford it, but also to take some time to figure out what I wanted to do. It’s been almost 4 years now and until recently I’d been pretty sure it was graphic design and photography. But sitting there reading my book, half reminiscing and half glancing over the words, my thought process was abruptly interrupted and my eyes fixed fast on a sentence that, rather creepily in its timing, really hit home. Use your talents to help others.
When I was in university, I took quite a few courses in psychology and I seriously wanted to continue with a degree in the subject. My efforts were discouraged, my mother telling me “everybody has a degree in Psychology and never does anything with it”, and this played a large part in my taking some time off, but even recently, with a near future in graphics in mind, I’d had the goal of becoming a psychologist in mind for later in life. I sat there and read the words again. Use your talents to help others. I asked myself the question, if my ultimate goal is a career involving helping people, why would I put that off just to have a few years doing something that sure, is fun, and I’m pretty good at, but fundamentally doesn’t help anybody on any really deep level. Plus, with technology advancing at the rate it is, even amateur photographers are becoming able to take professional level shots, and with software being so easily available, I’m pretty sure the demand for graphic designers is going to go down with everyone trying to do things by themselves. Yes I want to be creative. But I want to help people more.
So this puts me in a tough spot. I’ve spent the last four years trying to figure out what it is I want to do. Growing up I always thought it was teaching. I have an intense love and passion for learning and education in general, but I can’t for the life of me stand up in front of a group of people and instruct. I’ve recently been given a phenomenal opportunity involving going back to school next year, an opportunity for which I am immensely grateful and at the same time extremely excited. But registration deadline is February, and I don’t know whether to enrol at Red River and do 2 years in Graphic Design, or re-enrol at the U of W, and spend the time finishing a degree in Psychology. Would I ever get a job with a psych degree? Would I be able to keep a job with graphic design?
I’m at a crossroads; I have been for a while. Take a left, and it looks like a pretty safe road. I go into familiar territory; something I already know I’m good at and already have 3 years working experience in. But who am I helping? Taking a right and it’s a whole new world. Throwing an arts kid into a field of science. A few years of intense schooling and not even knowing what lies at the end of it. Nothing… but the hope that I’d able to do some good for others. Which way do I go?