I thought the moment I passed my Master’s defense my brain would shutdown.
That it would pause for a little while before preparing to pick up the last bits of the semester–to finish teaching, grading, researching, and learning.
It would be like those movies where a nuclear bomb goes off and then the chilling moment of silence ensues as remnants of dust dance to the ground.
But being the work-a-holic that I am, my brain didn’t work that way.
I spent so much time focusing on my defense that I forgot life would continue on afterwards, regardless of failure or passing.
And that was so strange to me.
Stages of transition are strange in general.
Six years of studies in Biology, Psychology, and English culminated into one single moment. It didn’t seem fair to see all of these things I’ve poured myself into for years judged within a span of 20 minutes with a few quiz questions thrown in the mix. But that’s the way it was and that’s what I had to do if I wanted to leave with a degree. And that’s why every single waking moment I had was focused on this.
And then suddenly it was done. I finally peered over the brick wall into infinite space beyond the only moment I thought existed. I didn’t really know what to do with myself anymore. I felt like whatever purpose I served was done.
That feeling was somewhat ephemeral. Thank heavens.
I realized shortly thereafter that within months I needed to find a full-time job despite the fact that I was still in the midst of self-discovery and life direction searching. Life was not going to wait for me to figure shit out.
What would I be? A teacher? A game designer? A writer? A journalist? What title would I let define my identity in party conversations where judgement of life is based on a career? I wanted (and want) to do so much, yet found myself trying to push who I was into a single word. It’s like those movies or songs that fit into a thousand different genres but are forced into one on a shelf somewhere.
(Netflix put American Psycho under comedy. What?)
After graduation my dad and I began to talk about the job market, about what it meant for myself and my future. I expressed my concern with not being entirely sure which path I wanted to take, but that teaching and writing seemed to embody everything I love more so than simply working in video games. He told me that he truthfully never could see me doing one thing.
Funny, how such small statements can leave a massive scar.
In my father’s words I realized that life is huge and ambiguous. That it was only these cock-tail party conversations that limit us to a certain word. That a single word wouldn’t be enough to satiate my curiosity and love of the world, something I thought would leave me when I reached adulthood but never really did.
And perhaps that’s why I’m attracted to teaching in the first place… it is a career that requires me to learn incessantly, to examine closely, to be flexible and open, to question, while also allowing me the flexibility to explore, create, and write. It also has a lot in common with video games, so I’m looking forward to discovering how the two can connect even more.
So yes, I want to teach. But I also want to continue to focus on games in how they can influence education. I want to train horses, to try my hand at wildlife photography and travel writing, to write music and maybe even try write a book one day. I want to help change the way education works. I want to inspire. I want to interact. I want to be.
I want to be.
And now that I walked across that stage for the second time… now that it is said and done and the incessant questions of “What’s next?” come pouring in, I can smile politely and reply “…everything.”
My friend Robyn always tells me that we have the ability to live many lives. And with all my heart, I want to believe that. It means we are capable of different experiences. For those in states of transitions…. where do you see your life going? How are you dealing with career choices and identity? Do you think we focus on career choices too much?