Career Path Leads Back to School
By Jamie Enoch
Four years ago I was working in a hospital as a nursing
assistant, earning eight dollars an hour, when my car
broke down twice in one month. After the second costly
repair I decided to return to school to pursue a career.
My college experience was a meandering journey the first
time around. At the age of eighteen, the main thing
I had learned in high school was that I had no real
interest in anything except acting in the senior play.
However, attending college was something that was expected
of me, like saying please or stopping at
red lights. The fact that I got to escape the confines
of my parents home and live in the dorm made it
the greatest adventure of my life. Nevermind that I
had no career goals, no ideas of a major, and no discernable
talents of any kind. I assured myself that the perfect
career would magically emerge, perhaps in a dream, and
the difficult decision would be made. Until this happened,
I reasoned, the first two years of school could be spent
getting those pesky basic requirements out of the way.
Then when I did have a major I was
passionate about I could devote my studies to it exclusively.
I managed to keep up this magical thinking through the
first year and even make the Deans list both semesters.
The fact that I could read the entire catalog of degree
programs and not find a single glimmer of interest
in my heart rarely concerned me. No one else seemed
worried, either. My parents were confident I would find
my way, and many of my friends had no idea about their
So we all went through the motions and waited for the
prophetic moment when we would know for sure what we
wanted to do for the rest of our lives.
By the second year, I began to lose confidence in the
imminent epiphany, and I began to lose interest in school.
No answers were coming. No careers
jumped out at me. I had late night talks with friends,
where I agonized over the fact that I didnt know
what I wanted. My biggest fear was making the wrong
choice, and I was paralyzed into inaction by this fear.
At 20 years old, I believed being stuck in a career
I did not love was a fate worse than death, and for
some reason, an irreversible mistake. I calculated in
my mind how long it would take to get a degree, decide
I hated my job, and go back to school for another degree.
I would be almost thirty! This was so horrific a scenario
that instead of risking it, I didnt make a choice
My third year was spent trying to improve on the miserable
grades of the second year, but it was becoming harder
and harder to fill a schedule with basic studies
requirements. I took more and more electives. Even my
parents were beginning to gently ask what my plans were.
I had bounced between a major of biology and being undeclared.
I enjoyed science and math classes, but I had no earthly
idea what a biologist did or what one did with a biology
degree. I honestly think I may have chosen it for the
absurd reason that I liked animals.
Suddenly I was looking down the barrel of my fourth
year. A decision had to be made. Thanks to my lack of
commitment to anything in particular, I was not within
one year of any degree. I sensed my parents would not
spend any more money on electives so I made a decision.
Based on one class I took my second year, the fact that
I did not want to take a foreign language, and a lead
part in my high school senior play, I declared Theatre
as my major.
After a total of five years of college, I graduated
with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. Though I loved acting
and loved being on stage, I was a rather mediocre actor,
and I earned a degree in Theatre without ever being
cast in a full size university production. I was truly
serious about acting as a career when I first made my
decision, but two years of rejection wore down my already
too-fragile self confidence, and by the time I graduated,
I knew I did not have the stomach to join the ranks
of actors searching for work who share an unemployment
rate of 80-95 percent.