June 8, 2015

What I Wanted To Be When I Grew Up

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

I don't know about you, but I got asked this question a lot as a kid. And my answer changed all the time! I wanted to be an astronaut and explore the fascinating things I saw in night sky. (When I was really little, I used to think that stars were tiny pinpricks in the sky that the light of Heaven shone through.)

After having to take a lot of medicines as a young girl, I asked my mom where the medicines came from. She said, a pharmacist. So, I decided I wanted to become a pharmacist so that I could make all medicines taste like candy. I had a plan of soaking hard candies in liquid medicines.  :)

My parents thought I might pursue a career in medicine--as a nurse or doctor--because I used to read our medical book FOR FUN when I was younger. I was fascinated to learn about our amazing bodies, diseases, treatments, and all things medical. I never shied away from blood. Or adventure.  :)  I remember wanting to be a storm chaser, too. Read the backstory to my fascination with thunderstorms here.

In 5th grade, I believed that my best quality was soccer.  :)

That same year, I was asked to make a book. I wrote about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like the nostalgic girl I am, I kept the book all these years. Here's what I wrote in photos!

Clearly, I was conflicted.  :)

As you might imagine, I had a hard time settling on a major to pursue in college. But I entered my freshman year determined to make a career in social work. With my strong sense of social justice, this seemed a great fit to me.

But then, a year and a half in, I felt a distinctive pull to switch my major to Communications. And I did. The academic dean at my college asked me the same question that day I'd been asked all my life: "What do you want to be when you grow up, Laurel?" I still really had no idea, but I liked that a degree in Communications offered me a lot of options. In college, we joked that Communications was the degree for people who didn't know what to do with their lives. There was some truth to that! I considered going into radio, editing, and a few other Communications-related fields.

But the funny thing is, the career I ended up in has been staring me in the face since I was 7 years old. My mom tells me she doesn't recall ever seeing a 7-year-old write as much as I did. I began journaling, chronicling our trip out west and all the things we saw and did. I kept journaling for many years of my life. I always enjoyed writing. My mom told me I was a good writer (but moms are supposed to say that kind of thing, right?).  :)  It wasn't until I hit my stride in college and then absorbed lots of information in two writing-based internships that I truly thought, "I could make a career out of this." And love doing it, too!

It took a few years, but one of those internships launched me into a job as a full-time writer. Hindsight vision is 20/20, right? What seems so clear now (how I ended up as a writer) was very murky for years. I'm just glad that God knew better than I did and led me to a place where my passion for justice meets my love of writing.

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