How did you pick your major or career path?

When did you know what you wanted to study or what you wanted to do? For most of us it has changed or evolved over the years. When I was in high school there were specific teachers I bonded with. These were my English teachers, history teachers, and my political science teacher. I happened to get A+s fairly easily in these courses, too. As a result, when I was picking colleges, I planned to major in English, history, or political science. My teachers loved my papers (analysis papers and research papers). The exercise of compiling and developing papers was something that made my spirit soar.

So there I was in my freshman English class in college. We were reading Homer’s Iliad. Our assignment was to write some kind of analysis or compare and contrast paper about it. I wrote it up and we handed it in on a Wednesday. We got our papers back on Friday. Mine did not have a grade on it. It just said See Me at the top. In my vanity, I assumed she wanted to see me because she was going to tell me she was so impressed with my paper that I could declare my major early. At my college, you were not permitted to declare your major until you completed your core requirements at the end of sophomore year. Instead, Miss Noel said to me “is English your native language or do you come to it late in life?” Then she told me to head to the bookstore, get a remedial English book, re-do the paper, and hand it in on Monday. Shocked and saddened, I did precisely that. On Wednesday, I handed the paper in again. On Friday she handed it back to me. It said, “much improved. F”. I knew then and there that the department would not permit me to be an English major. I was lucky to get a D in her class at the end of the semester.

The second semester, I fared no better. The second semester I took poetry analysis. Although the poems were bursting with lovely imagery, metaphor, meter, and more, I was hopelessly tongue-tied at writing the papers. I received a C only because the sweet professor in that class took pity on me and rewarded my work ethic, as my talent for poetry analysis was nonexistent. My professor told me so on a regular basis, and so did my classmates.

My political science and history courses went no better, unfortunately. It was all such a shock to me. I knew that these majors would not be allowed. You see, you had to demonstrate mastery of the introductory courses to get into the sophomore classes. I considered majoring in elementary education, because I truly loved to teach But at the time, the new teachers were having a tough time getting jobs. At that point I realized that if I majored in business and went into management, I would be researching and teaching. That is what I loved. In that department, my practical mind and idealism dovetailed nicely. I excelled. The courses were challenging. I suppose that could mean I was far less intelligent than I had given myself credit for being in my pre-college years. Or it could mean that when you find your niche, you  excel.

The difference between high school and college was surely a shock to my system. To this day, writing a book review or any kind of literature analysis is a bit beyond me. Other than being truly impressed by the talent of the writer, I am clueless as to what to say. The same can be said when I react to artistic things (photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, quilting,  needle craft, etc.) Again, I generally love what I see and think it is beautiful. But I really have nothing to add to the discussion at all. Does that mean I shouldn’t have studied or majored in it? I have no idea. I do know it would have been every bit as problematic for me in those majors, as it was in the English department.

On the other hand, when it comes to business strategy, job procedures, and mathematical problem solving, I am full of things to say. Why do you suppose that is? I did major in business, and minored in math and humanities. But the humanities courses were things like opera appreciation, art history, architectural history, those kinds of things. In picking a business career path, I couldn’t go with public accounting, because frankly I was NOT a good accountant for that realm. I loved creating the records, and tracking the expenses and inventory.  I cared about training people in industry, coming up with better procedures, and tracking inventory.

But after a few years of that, I married and my career was taking care of home, hearth, and family. Many many years later, I returned to tutoring. I had volunteered as a tutor for years, but due to my husband’s unemployment at the time, I decided to try to find a paying gig. I am now well into my 4th year of doing this and am beyond busy. Why does this work? The students I take on all have a common thread. They need inspiration, guidance, and training in life strategy. They need to now how to manage their education and set some goals. Yes they also need help in subject areas. Most of the time they need help in math. I feel safe in math. I am terrific at finding ways to explain it so they can overcome their difficulties. Granted, I am not doing the high-powered stuff like calculus and physics. Instead,  I mostly tutor pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and algebra 2. Math feels safe. Cost accounting did. Financial accounting did not. It is an interesting distinction.

So how did I pick? I realized that in order to shine and grow, I needed to feel competent. I needed to know I add something to the discussion. Although I loved to read, and to communicate my thoughts and ideas in presentations and papers, I did not have enough to add to that discussion at that point in time. Not only that, but professors and classmates alike were more than happy to point out my lack of competence. Although this made me want to improve, I could not get to that level.Time was ticking and I did not make the deadline for improvement in college. I had to pick a major that I could excel in.

These days, the blogging world is so full of wonderful writers. They commandeer their keyboards and develop characters and dialogue. They write book reviews that make me nod and say “YES”! They write poetry that leaves me speechless and moves me to tears. They take photographs that make my eyes open so big I am surprised my eyes don’t fall right out of my head. But I frequently cannot think of anything intelligent to say. I mean how many times can I credibly say the equivalent of Roger Ebert’s “one thumb up”? So perhaps my role is to just at times be a silent observer in those realms. Maybe that really is the purpose of the old “like” button.

Then I realized that perhaps that isn’t my role. It is hard to convey how much I appreciate the variety of blogs I follow. The ones that offer encouragement in taking care of myself (exercise, diet, outlook, prayer). The ones who create beautiful things. the ones who offer scripture analysis….

It is a big blogging world. I have much to discover. When you began to blog did you pick something that was like your major or career path? Did you evolve and change your blog focus? I have meandered around with mine.

Mainly I comment on my own path in life and pray that folks that need something interesting or encouraging to read will feel as though they are sitting on a dock, dangling their feet in the water while watching the sunrise/sunset. There is something to be said for being a hopeful companion. That is all I have ever been in this life. As a hopeful companion and comfortable dock by the lake/sea/river, I do hope to perhaps share my hopes and heartaches, dreams, goals, and experiences. For it is in the sharing that we can be renewed. It is in the giving that we strengthen and are strengthened.

If I was to go back to college these days, I might have also taken some courses in designing curriculum for various learning styles and/or disabilities. I have always been irresistibly drawn to finding ways to make it possible for people to learn and succeed. I am always researching that topic and reading about it. That was true in the business world, the home, and in my tutoring life too. I stubbornly (or optimistically) believe that everyone can grow and learn. That brings me fact to face once again with why I was unable to find the key to the English major. You see, I realized that I had run out of ways to analyze the writings of other writers. Nor could I create works of fiction (characters and dialogue). Despite the fact that I had read a zillion books (mostly fiction)–I just couldn’t do it! Or perhaps I didn’t want to or wasn’t meant to!

So to the creative friends that I have—who inspire me with their talent and knowledge, I say “WOW! Great job”. And now you know why I was not an English major.

About Kate Kresse

I love to write, I love to talk, I love to uplift people when I can. I am a woman in love with life. I am a wife, mom, tutor, writer, and I am a perennial optimist. (OK not every single minute but you get the point! :-)
This entry was posted in faith/courage/miracles/hope, Friendship. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to How did you pick your major or career path?

  1. Hi Kate! I started out as a business major but I realized I didn’t want to look after other people’s money. I switched to anursing major after being an in-patient in hospital the summer before 4th yr and watching what the nurses did all day. Some of them were kind enough to let me tag along, dragging my IV pole with me 🙂 It was one of the best decisions I ever made. As for blogging, what I write now certainly isn’t what I thought I would be writing about when I started a year ago. The Spirit leads in some very surprising ways. You may not be an English major but what you write is very uplifting to many people and very well written.

    • Kate Kresse says:

      How fascinating that you found your calling that way. Those nurses must have been so special. I know what you mean about accounting. If I had had to reconcile and create financial statements I would nit have done a good job. But coming up with new wats to do things –that rocked my world. I have a whole new level of respect and admiration for nurses and docs in light of my sons medical issues. Your work and your blog minister to me. And so many others. Thanks

  2. This was great Kate. When I started Reinventing the We’ll three years ago I really expected I would be writing about my wife and I moving through the empty nest into our golden years. Life’s tide swept those ideas away but I have learned God always has a plan. I never planned to be a devotional writer (though it seems silly to me now not to have considered it). Yet here I am and happy to be working in my strength.

  3. auntyuta says:

    ” . . . . For it is in the sharing that we can be renewed. It is in the giving that we strengthen and are strengthened.”

    I like this, Kate. I always get something out of what you’re saying. It makes so much sense to me. I know I wouldn’t have been good at anything at college or university. The way things seem to be taught there just wouldn’t appeal to me.On the other hand I think I would have been interested in the humanities. Philosophical questions, social history, social justice. I would have liked to be able to contribute to discussions about these subjects.

    I am glad you found your ‘niche’, Kate. You had to overcome some difficulties, do some rethinking, but you made it in the end. This post of yours is a great write up. I was very interested in reading it. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!

  4. Kate Kresse says:

    I think you would thoroughly enjoy philodophy social jistory and social justice. I have thoroughly enjoyed resding anout your history, experiences and outlooks. Have you ever wstched any of the TED videos online? I hear they cover a ton of subjects, are free and fascinating. I bet thw have videos on thise subjects. I’m so glad my post appealed to you. Thanjs fir the feedback dear ta.

    • auntyuta says:

      Thanks for your reply, dear Kate. That people like you take the time to talk to me on the internet means a lot to me. I feel very humble that you should encourage me like this. People who read my blogs may often think that I still do a lot of things. But I do feel if anything I may have to accept that I cannot do quite as much any more.

      My husband can vouch for it how easily I get tired. I do not complain about this for I am fortunate at my age to still be able to follow a lot of interests. My days seem always to be very full. And on days when I haven’t planned anything special and am allowed to just stay home I do things I find relaxing like sitting outside and catching a bit of sun. Reading a book is sometimes too exhausting! I often need to rest for a while instead.

      If I feel up to it i might go for a little walk or do a bit of swimming or gardening. All this tires me very quickly. But at least I can still do a bit here and there and I am happy about this. Most things I can do best early in the morning. During the day things often aren’t as easy for me anymore as in the early morning hours when I feel full of beans for a while and can do things a bit more quickly.

      I am afraid I do not look for serious study at this stage in my life. I know there are people who can still do it at an advanced age. Maybe these people have been doing some kind of studying throughout their life. Would you believe I avoided serious studying all through my life? I really do not want to start with something like it as I approach the end of my life. I can still show an interest in certain subjects. But this doesn’t mean I have to study these subjects properly and perhaps even have to qualify for exams, does it? Really, I rather leave this to younger people. This doesn’t mean I cannot have my say about certain things! Usually what’s on my mind I can express better in writing rather than talking about it.

      With my husband I actually do a lot of talking about a lot of things. My husband is more the studying type and can usually give some information about anything you ask him, be it about politics, or history or anything else. And his memory is much better than mine. In the past he was never interested in reading what I was writing. But luckily since I started with wordpress this has changed! And he helps me a lot when I end up with some technical difficulties regarding the computer.

      I always want to read more books. I wished I had the stamina to do a lot more reading and also remember a bit better what I’ve been reading.

      Sorry, Kate, as a reply this is much too long. Maybe I should have been writing a blog about it instead. Since I get more and more interested in taking a lot of photos I have recently been kept busy publishing quite a few. I reckon these pictures can sometimes tell more than a lot of words. But I also think that maybe I should spend a bit more time with actually writing blogs? This taking of so many pictures is like an addiction. Once I start taking pictures it’s hard to stop myself.

      • Kate Kresse says:

        Uta–follow your heart. Where you are led by mood, interest, etc is where you belong. After years of trying to meet what I presume were others’ expectations of me I realized that authenticity brings joy. The TED lectures I believe are just little things you can watch for the heck of it….they aren’t something you take for a grade. I think your posts and photos are awesome. and sitting in the sunshine is EXACTLY what to do on the days that you feel like it. And a nap or a walk with your dear husband~ gosh that sounds perfect too. You are amazing—and your posts/photos/comments take me to your world, present and past. thanks for sharing you so selflessly. —hugs—kate

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I was a very late starter and switcher. I will always be a Gilly of all trades and mistress of none 😦

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Oh gosh, gilly~ I don’t see you that way at all! I love to read what you write, and see your photos. You take me to your journeys and paths. I love to see it and read makes me feel as though I accompany your walks and thoughts. You develop a story and post with SUCH beauty. If that is not a mistress, Gilly, what is? hugs!

  6. Hi there! I always wanted to be a teacher and I always wanted to be a mom. Tada: Now a retired home educator. 😉
    But how on earth did you move from “A+” in high school to “F” in college? Someone made some HUGE mistakes in grading!!!!!

    • Kate Kresse says:

      Well—I impressed my hs teachers with my creativity and high level analyses (for hs, even honors level). I was in the top 10% for THAT arena. Unfortunately, in HS they were so impressed with my ideas that they did not emphasize silly things like sentence structure, paragraph cohesion etc. That is where my papers fell apart freshman year of college.
      Besides that, in college, all of my competitors were also in the top 1%% to 10% of their high schools. So my top 10% could not hold a candle to the top 1%. PLUS my professors made it their priority freshman year to get rid of my (at the time) huge and not necessarily coachable ego. It was an important transition for me to make!!
      School success had come so easily to me until that point that I never needed to develop serious study habits. I just plain succeeded until then. Grad school was an easy transition—because in the business world I developed a lot of “determined to succeed” workaholic type strategies. That stood me in good stead for grad school. I could pick up on the profs’ cues as to what was essential. Straight As then! Despite the painfulness of my freshman year, they moved me from my frozen bad academic habits to my full capabilities. there are times in my life where that has been essential!! Some birds don’t try to fly until mama boots them a bit!!

      • Wow. Hmm. You got “A’s” in not clicking when they took your pen away? Hmm. 😉
        I know how it was. I had a son like that, but he got his wake-up in 7th grade, the year we left public schools. . .

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