The Call of the Wild: Life as a Double Major

It has been a particularly rough week for me here in Paris. Not only have I been sick and overtired, but a large cloud of homesicknesses has descended upon me and I feel farther away than usual. This is no doubt partially because I still have no phone and no internet, but I think it also has something to do with some big choices that have been rumbling in the distance and are now coming to a roar.

As 2006 comes to a close, I have been thinking a lot about where I will be this time next year and what I will be doing. When I couldn't decide which major to pick at 20 years old, it was good enough to say "why not both!?!" and off I went into an English/French lifestyle. Choosing the Master's program at Middlebury seemed to finally kill off the English and business side of me. I thought I'd chosen my path, that French was my thing and the only thing that mattered was to find a way to stay in this country.

Lately the desire to write, to market, to communicate has come raging back and not without response. For every job description Mike Bruckner sends me for work in the U.S., Balzac calls out from within. The mental war is taking its toll and I change directions almost daily. I openly envy those of you who are accountants, who are doctors, who have chosen directions that are not only direct but also please people like parents and in-laws and outsiders because they're easy to say.

I don't have much wisdom on the subject, so I won't try to bring things to a close on this post. Feel free to leave some pearls in the comments section, especially if you've already planned your life and have the key to doing it.


E. said...

Just thought I'd offer my support, for what it's worth - because I am as much at a loss as you are, and I agree that's it's exhausting not to know what you really wanna do...

I'm sure you'll come to the best decision, though!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, the above comment was me...


Anonymous said...

hello honey!
i'll try to help you on this one!
i think i've now kinda found what i want to do with my life (music industry, you know sound engineer, stage manager and stuff...) but last year in november i was still sure i wanted to be an english teacher in barcelona one day...

quick anecdote: last month, i received a call from spain, a woman found my cv on monster.es ( i posted it in may 2005 and never bothered erasing it...) and offered me a job as an english teacher in barcelona, this job i was dreaming of few months ago... and i said no...
simply because i now think music is my life... yes there's more risks in this industry, it's not really a secure job, and it is not the perfect job for parents and in-laws but i'm feeling like it is the perfect job for ME.

so to conclude after this incredibly long comment,
don't listen to them, listen to your heart and even if you have to take risks, do what you REALLY want to do with passion and without regrets.


(u're still welcome in dublin!)


steve said...


i love you very much and support you no matter what you do..i'm home for the night (came to see the high school play again) and am driving back tomorrow morning (about 4pm your time)...i'm gonna call you from the car

love you

Anonymous said...

i think the one thing you should never be afraid of saying - to yourself, to your parents, to your in-laws - is "i changed my mind."

Years ago, when our parents were graduating from high school, you chose a job and you stuck with it, no matter what. My mom became a nurse - she went the NEBH nursing school and has worked at NEBH since. My dad has worked at the 99 for over 30 years now.

Today's economy - in the US, in France, i imagine even if remote places like Kazahkstan - well, it doesn't work like that. It's all about doing what's best for YOU and not what's best for the company you currently work for.

Glamour/Cosmopolitan/Self (all very reliable sources!) always talk about how when a woman turns 30, she'll have had at least 3 or 4 different jobs.

"Finding yourself" is a continually process that doesn't often please parents and in-laws, but it doesn't make it wrong.

My personal experience: like edith and teaching english, i always thought that i'd come to france for a year, get a full-time job as a computer programmer / marketing assistant / website developer and voila! But france grew on me in ways i didn't imagine, and so did teaching english & my studies. all of a sudden, i'm signing up for a thesis so that i will(hopefully) get a job teaching American History to ungrateful French university students.

I guess the moral of the story is that as you change and grow and adapt, so might your ideas about "the perfect job."

i remember you saying how you didn't want to teach english in france after your experiences in middle and high schools, but now you've found a different way to teach english to adults to make some extra money.

I'm just saying - take it as it comes and maybe even try to find a way to combine your (two or more) passions. I develop websites for an american company on a freelance basis because i love it, but i'm not sure i'd love it as much if i did it 40 hours a week - at least at this point in my life. So, i study, i teach english, and i develop websites.

Since you're into english and french and marketing and journalism, could you find a job with the French AP? Or with an American company in Paris that needs bilingual marketing specialists ? just some ideas.

Sorry this is so long - I was going to email you but realized it'd be better on your blog.

And don't stress so much about what parents & in-laws think - my sister has proven that the road not taken can sometimes lead to wonderful places!

See you in a few weeks !