Yesterday, I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk to the 3rd and 4th graders at Lucia Wallace Elementary School in Algona for career day. I had 3 groups of eager little listeners learn about my job in photography. The fact that so many had an interest in my career warmed my heart. I shared everything about my business from the hours that I worked to the responsibilities and skills needed for this job. I love the fact that anybody can enjoy photography in their life, even along-side another career, or have as a hobby.
When I was young, I had no idea I would ever have a job in this field. It took me until I was nearly 40 years old, before I pursued my life-long interest by taking many classes and seminars. More than anything, I really wanted each student to realize that they may have many different careers in their lifetime.
I went to school pursuing one career, and then realized half-way through my senior year in college that I did not want to teach music, my selected major. I taught elementary music, in spite of my reluctant feelings, for a year. We married two weeks before my husband started medical school and I began teaching. I had a lot of pressure from both sides of our families – “What are you going to do?! You HAVE to have a job!” I subsequently had one of the worst years of my life following and became very depressed. The one thing that was solid was my marriage, but it felt as though just about everything else was crumbling around me. After that year I found other jobs and we made it through my husband’s 4 years of medical school in Madison, WI. I felt really bad about myself for many years after I got out of music. I felt like a huge failure for not staying in my chosen field of study.
I did not share the details of my teaching job with the students yesterday, but I really wanted them to realize that if you find yourself doing many different things throughout your life, you grow and learn from each of your experiences. And no matter what you end of doing, make sure that you are the absolute best you can be at whatever that job is. “Be the best________ you can be.” Whether you fill that blank with “farmer” or “electrician” or “teacher” or “parent” or “convenience store employee” or “photographer,” it really doesn’t matter. Be your best and enjoy all of your life experiences & learn from them. I hope that each of these youngsters also continue to pursue their interests, in whatever capacity that might be, in photography, too.