Last night I responded to a blog post that lamented the individual’s inability to get a suitable job in their chosen profession immediately after graduating with an M.A. degree. I put forward my typical line about how in this particular field today employers are looking less for academic degrees and more for experience. I noted that internships and volunteer experiences really pay off in this regard. I closed out the comment by noting I did not get my “dream job” until I was 55 years old, though I had some pretty good, and not so good, gigs along the way.
I find that students often think a degree is their ticket to success. Their greatest disappointments come down to having unrealistic or false expectations.
I enjoy the recovery saying “you can make plans but you can’t plan the results.” That concept has been a real blessing in my recovery. If I were to project back to my first days in recovery, I could never have conceptualized what my “dream job” or “dream life” would entail. I went back to school after being sober for one year. My previous attempts at college had earned me an 0.7 GPA. In sobriety, I was pretty much all over the place trying to figure out a direction. Today, a question I ask students, and preface by noting I ask myself the same question today as well “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask this question in part because I truly believe the saying on our AA medallions “To Thine Own Self Be True” means that life is a process and not event. That has perhaps been the most exciting aspect of recovery for me. Recovery has meant leaving my life as a skid row drunk to embracing and living into the process of life, one day at a time. Ten years ago I could not have predicted my circumstances of today. The actual future has always exceeded my planned future. That fact has been true throughout recovery.