Career inspiration derives from significant sources

I used to be so sure of what I wanted to do after graduation, and always had a confident response to the, “what are you supposed to do with an English degree” question, which was graduate school then law school.

Theresa Pfister, a&l editor

The answer was simple, and gained satisfied head nods and “good lucks.”  

But now, with only two and half semesters to complete, I have to be honest with myself and seriously hone in on what an English major actually does with their maimed coffee shop degree.

This past weekend, I met my best friend’s aunt and uncle, Rear Admiral Mary E. Landry, a District Commander in the United States Coast Guard and her husband, Mark, a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard and who also served as the Interim Director for the Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office for FEMA.

Landry is responsible for U.S. Coast Guard operations in 26 states, and most recently served as the Federal-On-Scene-Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

She’s friends with President Obama and his family, and plans on writing a book that reflects her career after she retires from her current position in June.

Landry has truly reached a pinnacle of success, which won’t end even after she retires.

In my eyes, her most shining quality is that she too was a coffee suckin’ English major in her undergraduate years.

My worries about where I’ll be when I graduate were eased when I was able to speak with Landry, someone who came from the same place I am currently at, and now has a paramount career.

I don’t have a concrete employment path to take, and as terrifying as that can seem at times, Landry reminded me that there is a beautiful freedom in the occupation limbo I’ve found myself in, and she’s right.

I’ve always tried to avoid limiting myself, because every imposed constraint is a missed opportunity.

The downfall with this mentality, though, is that I can be so focused on making sure I don’t miss out on anything that I go into information and activity overload, and forget that I am unfortunately not transhuman, and I do have realistic limitations, whether I want to believe in them or not.

 As difficult it is for me to admit, I actually can not do everything I want to do, or be a part of everything I’m interested in, simultaneously, at least.

I had a full palate last semester, and I started out with vibrant colors, all distinct from one another, but towards the end I was simply left with shades of gray.

It’s hard to pick yourself back up when everything around you looks and feels the same.

Somewhere along the semester’s tightrope my trusty Best Buy Blue’s collided with my maroon and gold, and genuine gratification in my work was harder to achieve, and even harder to maintain.

For now, I am going to concentrate on succeeding this semester, and follow what’s beside me, instead of chasing a future that’s just reaching my horizon.  

THERESA PFISTER

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