Pass Me That Glass of Lemonade, Please!
When I started thinking about college many years ago, my Dad was urging me to major in Music. At the time, I didn't want to do that, as I was a mediocre piano player and vocal music isn't really a stable career choice. The only option I saw with a music degree was to teach, and at that time, it was the last thing I thought I should do. I was firmly in the camp, if you don't love it, don't do it. Still am.
So, what did I want to major in? Radio was a hobby that I could see being a career, and thus, I started college as a communications major. After a semester, I decided that it wasn't the right fit for me because I already knew what I needed for radio broadcasting. On to Technical Theatre, another thing I really enjoyed.
Along the way, I was able to take classes in many topics that interested me. Art, Public Speaking, Rudiments of Music and Psychology. Lots of Psych classes-I find the topic fascinating. So fascinating that I have my own copy of the DSM IV, bought for 'pleasure reading'. That put me in good stead when I got a secretarial job in a Therapy practice.
I'd transcribe intakes and knew enough about what was on them that one of the therapists would say on the tapes "Okay, Suzanne, put your Five Axes on here and we'll see how close they are." It was fun. Really. In fact, I was trying to figure out ways to make the job feasible after having Chef, because I enjoyed it.
Over the years, when I contemplated returning to college, I'd have this big internal debate about which major I should study. It's hard when a lot of things strike your fancy. Teaching is the most recent idea, namely because it is a relatively stable career and I love training wherever I work.
Sometimes, another person can pinpoint what they know of you and make a suggestion that best fits your skills and passions. Such is the case with me-my friend Liz and I were talking about the school thing when I lost my job. She said "I know the perfect major for you-Instructional Design." It wasn't one I'd heard of, but she's familiar with the program, because they offer it at her Alma Mater, Purdue.
The simple answer is that Instructional Design is the study of how people learn and developing training tools and measurments of learning for the business world. Liz thought this was a great blend of my love for tech, the love of teaching new things and the quest for variety in my job.
In searching for more information, I found that only a few schools in the US offer it as a major and none are in Florida. If I wanted to take it as an undergrad, I'd have to move. However, there are more schools offering a masters in ID, and nearly all of them offer a distance learning option.
Our local state school, USF, doesn't offer the program, but I figured it couldn't hurt to find out if they knew which major would be a good precursor to taking ID as a master's program. At the very least, based on our lousy income the past two years, I figured it was time to fill out the FAFSAs and get my butt back to school.
This is why I sat and waited a half hour to speak to an admissions advisor. The luck of the draw was a good one today. Not only did the advisor know what the major was, he had two friends who work as consultants with Instructional Design Certifications. He had resources, he had questions as to what I wanted to do and why ID and then he had an answer as to what I should do at USF. Ironically, it's a major I'd contemplated years ago, when I thought I would go back to school soon after Gameboy was born.
Once again, someone looked at all the things that interest me, what I want to do and why and could name something I could not. The degree is a good springboard to the ID program and he had all the reasons why it would be the best route for me to follow. In a half hour, despite the lovely voice you hear on the previous post, he picked up on my energy and what interests me and said that ID is probably a better fit than teaching for my energy. (And yes, he and I spoke about the leg concerns and that I have a lot to offer-just not the ability to stand all day.)
We went over what I need to do regarding the FAFSAs and my application to the college, which I'm already working on. Based on what we expect to hear from FAFSA, I'll be an entering Junior this summer semester.
It feels good to have some answers on that front. I'm relieved to know that hey, my leg is shit and always will be shit, but there IS a field where I still can do something that interests and inspires me.