26 August 2014

Mechanics or maintenance.

So, a couple weeks ago I finally looked  at Portland State University’s  website. I was seeking information about Architecture.  I emailed them, to ask questions about  the Masters Degree program.  I received an email from the administrative assistant almost immediately.  I expected she  would answer the questions I posed in the email but she made an appointment for me to meet with the head of the  Architecture Department, which I totally appreciated. I didn't expect that at all-it was more than I asked for.  So, the meeting was the following Tuesday at 4 30 pm.
I met with Tuesday of last week. We chatted for about an hour about the complexity of the program, which is a 5 yr accredited program concentrated in 3 full yrs of coursework, then working  with an architect for 2 years following.   As he spoke, my mind kept going to how overwhelming the experience would be to achieve my child-hood dream. I kept going back and forth in my mind, alternating between the possibility and the impossibility- I would have to submit an application by February 1 and the first semester each year is in the summer. I would have to submit an example of any kind of artistic achievement.  I asked about the 5 novellas I have published on Amazon Kindle, and he said that would be sufficient. Then he said I would need to take the GRE exam.
One of the subjects on the GRE is calculus.

Many many many moons ago, I wanted to be an architect. I was planning on taking precalculus in high school to prep for my future career choice but my guidance counselor convinced me that I would be a failure and that I may as well not take precalculus as I would never use it for anything. She suggested I look into mechanics or maintenance instead of architecture.  My self esteem was low; it was such that I believed her. I was thinking I was a kid and she was a grown woman; a professional. She must know what she was talking about, so I listened to her and I complied. I didn't venture into mechanics or maintenance though.  I still have the floor plan to my dream house.  I had drawn it up while in high school. I still alter the drawing from time to time.

I ended up being 2 people away from being the valedictorian of my graduation class.  I wished my self esteem was higher back then. If it was higher, then what she said would have pissed me off and I would have told my mom that night and she would have been pissed off. She would have told me I could be anything I wanted. She also would have gone to the school the next morning and would have told the woman off.  
But I digress.  In order to know calculus I need to learn pre-calculus. So I'll put the dream aside for a year and study and prepare for the GRE and will apply in February of 2016, If i haven't given up on that dream and moved on to something else.
I thought I would take this time to follow another one of my passions since Small Group Underwriting is gradually changing, and will not be the demand job it used to be.
When I was in Paris a couple years ago, I went to church with my host's mom.  She's from Cameroon, and lives in Paris during the school year. She used to be  an english professor but  decided to become a guidance counselor. She noticed that all the African kids in school  who were ambitious and intelligent and doing well in school, were being discouraged from being whatever they wanted to be, and she wanted to do the opposite.  She said that black kids were encouraged to become failures then when they succeed at failing, then the white people basically shake their heads, calling them dumb and lazy.  She said that her son ( who owned the apartment I lived in when  I was in Paris)  was  good in math but was  constantly discouraged by teachers and guidance counselors.  She put an end to the discouragement, and today he is an Auditor for the City of Paris. 

Interesting to know this isn't just an American thing.

If you have kids,  or grandkids, or nieces or nephews, or if you're the guardian of any kids, PLEASE, make sure you are their biggest cheerleader, in whatever it is that they dream of becoming.  And if you even suspect that your child has low self esteem, PLEASE help him/her discover what makes them happy, and do or say whatever is necessary to make them feel tall. And do  it/say  until they believe it.   Take it from me.  I was the shyest person I knew, and I was filled with doubt.  I'm still shy.  And that guidance counselor stumped on that dream like it was a bug. And I let her. I didn't even tell my mother about it until years later. And she was furious that I didn't tell her.

The world needs more dreamers, and less of people to squash them.


1 comment:

Dawna said...

I wish you all the best and think its great you're pursing your passions!.

I have heard quite a few stories here in London from those who are now adults who were discouraged from following their dream..by their old careers advisors, and many are filled with regret. you just don't forget things like that easily.