Thursday, March 29, 2007

What to Be When You Grow Up

I'm not sure what I'm going to be when I grow up. For today, I am an assistant professor. It's a great job, so who knows.

I've never known what I want to be when I grow up. Most of my students don't either. And that's OK, I tell them.

When I arrived in Las Cruces, N.M., in summer 1994, I was a political science major. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with that. But I had liked the political science classes I had taken at a community college in Phoenix (Paradise Valley Community College).

I already had given up on medicine once I discovered that I do not like being around sick people. So that was out.

Political science did not feel right. So I would stare at the NMSU undergraduate catalog. I would go through all of the majors. I would start over. I would chuckle at "soil science" almost every time.

As much as it is not like me, I would actually pause on wildlife science and ponder becoming a park ranger. It was a phase. I used to want to move to Montana or some other Big Sky state. It was a reaction to living in crowded, sprawled Phoenix for two years.

Anyway, I usually would pause on journalism and mass communications. I'm from a media family, and it was in my blood, it seemed. Then I would look at average starting salaries based upon major. And then I would get depressed.

I wandered into Milton Hall one day and met Dr. J. Sean McCleneghan, who was just then stepping down as department head. We spent a bit of time talking majors that day. Knowing how many credits I already had accumulated, "Dr. Mac" explained the benefits of staying a political science major. We talked about a minor in journalism.

But as with most things, I was "all in."

It's getting close to 13 years later. Mass communications has given me an amazing ride. I've covered Oscar De La Hoya and the Dallas Cowboys. I covered a university president, athletics director, and a head basketball coach all being forced out.

I covered a Republican presidential candidate, Bob Dole. I coordinated coverage of a Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Clinton. I met Dole several years later after I coordinated public relations efforts for a lecture he gave at Kansas State University.

I took pictures and asked questions of Garth Brooks at a news conference. I've seen a photograph I took go out on the AP wire and appear on Headline News. I co-hosted a radio talk show, where we interviewed then-governor Gary Johnson and then-mayor Reuben Smith.

Mostly, however, I have worked with a damned great group of people. And more than anything, these relationships are what I cherish.

This week I have spent getting back in touch with some of these people. It's been great. The group of fools with whom I put out a newspaper have gone onto some pretty amazing things. Four have either made it through or are about to finish law school. One has an M.B.A. and is a vice president of a company. They work on both coasts. A bunch live in Chicago.

Several are married. Some are expecting children. It's been cool to catch up with them.

And somehow my career has ended up here. And I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And I hope that I never do. As long as I meet some equally cool people along the way.

Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At (almost) 63 years of age.........I still do not know what I want to do/be when I grow up. Maybe the answer is to never "grow up".

7:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home