Well, when I was little I wanted to be a teacher. It's all I talked about. I would play 'school' just about every day when I came home from real school.
My elementary school teacher would let some of us take extra papers home just so we could play school. I guess that was her way of 'going green', even though that's not what it was called back then.
So, I would take my stack of mimeographed papers home (mmm, remember that smell?) and set up my little classroom in the living room. I would hand out my papers to all my imaginary students and teach them everything they would need to know.
I thought I'd be a pretty good teacher. I could run an imaginary classroom like nobody's business. My fake students knew who was boss.
So, when I started college, I gave up the imaginary classroom and tried for the real thing. I got into the education program, designed a few bulletin boards, did some observation time in the local middle school, bonded with a couple angsty preteens and went through the motions.
My heart was never really into it, but I tried to plug along. I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew I liked psychology and had a mild desire to be Agent Starling from The Silence of the Lambs. Other than that, I had no clue. So, I stuck with education.
Until I decided not to anymore. I put some thought into it and realized it just wasn't for me.
So, I switched over to the Social Work program at the direction of my Psychology professor. It was the best decision I ever made. It lead me to the field of mental health. That's where I am today and I have no plans of leaving.
This is what I am supposed to do. I have worked as a case manager, group home supervisor and now a crisis worker for adults with chronic mental illness. Suicidal, homicidal, psychotic, schizophrenic, depressed or bipolar. You name it. I can handle it. The crazier, the better.
Some people fear the population I work with. Some people don't understand it. Some people can't believe I gave up a glamorous career in education for this. Some people can just stick it!
It may not be what I had in mind for myself, but it's what I was meant to do.
So, what did you want to be when you grew up?