When I was in pre-school, I wanted to be an entomologist. I practiced diligently whenever I played outside. Worms, caterpillars, beetles, ants: I studied and collected them all, protesting when we went in for snacktime and my wiggly new friends were taken away from me. The adults never seemed to understand that they were stopping me from preparing for my future career.
My grandmother taught chemistry at the local university. Mondays she had a lab in the evening, and on some days, instead of leaving me at the preschool late, she would let me go with her. I watched the students take tests or discuss notes while I drew on the blackboard and marveled at the fancy equipment, convinced being a chemistry professor was the best job in the world.
My dream of being a rhythmic gymnast never had much basis in reality. Just to start with, I'd never taken a gymnastics class, and couldn't so much as do a cartwheel. But after watching the summer Olympics when I was six, I was hooked. I practiced with ribbons and ropes for years, inventing my own routines, imagining that some day my secret talent would get discovered.
My degree essentially prepared me to only be useful when things go wrong. No one wants an Emergency Manager when things are fine, after all. It's a good fit for me, though, because I like to fix things. The only real downside is I start to look a bit ghoulish, when I cheerfully anticipate future crisis. I have to remind myself that when someone mentions they've heard on the news about a potential catastrophe, I shouldn't reply with "I know, isn't it awesome?
I discovered the competitive pole-dancing world only about six months ago, and fell into it fast. Part of the appeal, I suppose, was finding a dance-sport where I don't feel awkward and bulky - just jealous because the other women all have more muscles then me. Now, after adding hours of pull-ups and weight training to my weekly schedule, slowly improving my inversions and handstands, I wonder what it would take for me to be seriously good.
I didn't really start off wanting to be a radio star. I started taking the training class because it sounded interesting, and I thought I might learn some useful skills for podcasting. But spending that much time at the station made it easy to keep imagining what I could do better. Now I'm trying to teach myself journalism, listening to NPR full time, and seriously considering applying for a public affairs show next semester. It's a station with a small audience, of course - but it's a start.