Yesterday, I met up at the T-Bar with someone who had been a professor of mine the first semester I went back to school at California State University, Chico (CSUC) spring semester, 2010, and we had some cold green tea beverages and gossiped about our personal lives and how students were likely to be wearing headbands à la Great Gatsby next semester, as was already visible from the patio.
Among other things, we talked about my job search and I was realizing that while I may not be parlaying my degree of a BS in Nutrition and Food Science, Dietetics into my potential career, at least I had been doing something important to me and studying something I cared about during the downturn of the economy, instead of just moping about the house and watching bad re-runs of shows on Netflix and Hulu+ and maybe enjoying a little too much of what Chico has to offer, mainly a party atmosphere and Sierra Nevada Beers.
Because this is the kind of thing many of the people I know who had been unable to to find jobs equivalent with their experience-level or salary-requirements in this economy had been doing, and while I had been tempted more than once, myself, to buy into that inertia, I knew that there was never going to be another time like this in my career or my life when the “stars would align” so that I would be able to finally take that time I’d often wished for to have someone sift through my hodgepodge of completed courses to determine what I really had left to do to get that degree I didn’t finish in my 20s.
I still remember that moment about three years ago when I was sitting in the coffee shop with my mom, you know, the one on East 8th Street, when I said, “I’ve spent the last dozen years developing these skills in marketing so that I can write and create and promote ideas for other people; now I want to at least be able to feel like I can give my ideas the air of legitimacy by proving I could stick a science degree on them to back them up.” I remember her wanting to help me, and I remember the excitement of a plan of attack, since no jobs were forthcoming at the time.
I can’t believe I’m on the other side of those three years now: that fateful latté’s long gone and I have parchment rolled up (and in the USPS purgatory somewhere, just 8-12 weeks according to CSUC). I may not be putting those ideas to practice—yet—but I do hope to regain enough of a foothold in the creative marketing field so that one day down the road, I can whip out some of those biochemistry and nutrigenomics I learned along the way and tailor-make myself a fantastic job.
And even if I don’t, at least I can prove to myself, if not the rest of the world, I didn’t just spend my downtime lying on the futon cashing unemployment checkes and selling off all my favorite “vintage” collectibles on Etsy or eBay to get by—I got a degree that will last me a lifetime, and for that, I am proud.