Social media platforms like Facebook have been showcasing photos of students (all ages) and the first day of class lately. This is no surprise. It’s also back to the academic routine for teachers. I can’t remember a time in my life that wasn’t influenced by education.
School was my way out growing up in a small Midwestern town and family plagued with alcoholism. There was no doubt in my mind that education was key to any success. Without it, I would have not lived up to my potential and drowned in a sea of no opportunity.
As a teenager and throughout my undergraduate studies working at a trendy clothing store, marketing and work hours became intense starting in July. The goal was to make more sales (money) than the year before. The back to school season was more important than the holidays in the retail world. Time off for a death or birth wouldn’t qualify as an excused absence.
Upon receiving my undergraduate degree, I worked in cable advertising cold calling, selling local television spots, and aiding in commercial creative content. Retailers would purchase sizable airtime to push goods prior to the new academic calendar. I developed no fear in rejection that has stayed with me today. Maybe the world would be a nicer place if everyone had to cold call for one day…
Quickly learned that in sales, it would never be enough for the corporate world despite high profits. In addition, my art had been neglected. As a result, applied to graduate schools, quit the advertising job, and eventually made the way to California. The year was 2000. The top song was Faith Hill’s Breathe and highest rated television show was Survivor: The Australian Outback.
Oh, how everything has changed but stayed the same since then.
Today, I’m a full time artist, writer, curator, advocate, and educator. My life still runs on an academic schedule. With each semester, a new adventure begins. I’m reminded everyday teaching how it felt going back to school. It’s a special time that can never be taken for granted. As the years pass by, the more I love this routine. Wouldn’t give it up for anything.