Not really. I think, given the circumstances, many of us wouldn't change where we are now for anything. I know that when I was a child, I aspired to be a teacher. I wanted it more than anything. In some aspects, I will be a teacher of sorts, but not the sort I wanted to be. I wanted to be a schoolteacher. I wanted to spread the kind of knowledge you learn in a schoolroom. Now I want to be a counselor, and that's the degree I'm working on, and I'm finishing part uno of that degree. Part deux soon to come, hopefully.
How many kids, though, know of the wide variety of occupations that are available out there for them to become? How many six year olds know that you can become a neurobiologist? How many know that you can be a social worker in a hospital and help with cancer patients? They have so much that they haven't experienced in their world, they just don't know all of the things they can do with their life. It gives them such limited ambition that when they get older, and they're asked what they want to be, they're at a loss. They're given a brochure with a list of all the things they can become when they enter college, and they wonder "what the heck is that???" (I remember these days)
Why do we teach children such simplicity for so long in life? Why do we keep such wonderful jobs so obscure from them for such a long time? Why don't we have middle schoolers learning about radiology? Have we ever thought about what skilled radiologists we could have if we started their professions earlier (with simpler terminology, of course, but at least learning the basics)? I think it's just an idea to toss out there. I think, had I known the scope of social work, and had I had the experience to explore professions earlier, rather than been thrown into the mix when I entered college, I might have had a better idea what I wanted to do at a much earlier time in my life. I might not have narrowed it to social work at the time, but I might have come closer sooner. They just don't give kids this opportunity, and this is unfortunate.
Part of it might be related to America's push to "teach to the test." Every year, students are forced to reach certain "benchmarks," if you will, that show that they are learning what they are supposed to. Of course, this doesn't teach them anything about life, just that they know how to answer the questions that are going to be on some big test at the end of the year every year. Where's the room for creativity? Kids are taught to want to be some sort of heroic person, when in reality, very few of them are going to have this status, most of them will live for their families, for love, for life. They don't teach this stuff in school.
There are a lot of us that kind of think, if I had known then what I know now....
Not necessarily wanting to change what we had done, but perhaps giving ourselves some insight on what we were getting ourselves into. I wish I could go back and give myself some insight. Perhaps I would have told myself that teaching wasn't going to be my thing. Perhaps I would have told myself that I knew there was more to what I was doing. Maybe I would remind myself how much I liked helping people, and nudge myself into something along those lines. Maybe I would have graduated faster.
Then again, I'm looking back and "could have" and "might have" situations. I have to live for where I am now. No, I'm not gonna be a teacher. I'm not going to write lesson plans, and I'm not going to decorate classrooms every year. I'm not going to smell the wonderful smell of new classroom supplies every August when new kids come in, and I won't be able to lean against the board and get chalk all over my outfit (or, more recently, dry erase marker). Know what? I'm okay with that. That's not what I want anymore. Sure, it's great, but it's not what I want. I would rather work with people and have the rare satisfaction of having someone walk out of an office feeling like I truly helped them through a situation. That is the feeling I live for now. And I wouldn't trade it. I don't want or need to look back.
I still wish they'd teach kids how much opportunity is out there at their fingertips, rather than generalizing jobs to make it easier for them to choose what they want to be. Alas, this is something I can't choose. This is what they'll do. Parents and teachers alike will ask students/children if they want to be president, a firefighter, a ballerina, a doctor, but never a social worker, a marine biologist, a neurosurgeon, or anything specific. When they get to college, it is then that they will decide. Until then, we have all these little police officers running around, princesses and soldiers.
Then, there are some that end up being something that nobody wants to ever be. There are those that become homeless, impoverished, and nobody wakes up one day and says "I think I'll become a heroine addict." It's just the truth of the world, and it happens. It's extremely unfortunate, but that's the way the world works. All the dreams that children have when they are young, very few of them actually end up following the path that they dream of following. Is it because we don't give them the tools? Is it because the paths are too difficult to follow? Is it because they are too general?
How many licks to the center of a tootsie roll pop? The world may never know....