Wrapping up the end of the semester

As much as I dislike having to get into this at all, I do have a few more things due this semester.  I’m posting this here to remind myself of what I have to do, along with updating this blog somewhat, even if it isn’t art-related (I hate not being able to see progress, and having the same blog entry at the top of the page for days, doesn’t help).

I know that I have been making progress and doing things, but not being able to easily see what I’ve produced can get me into a relative funk.  What’s silly is that what I’ve been doing is likely more important than maintaining my blog.  :/

I did get back to the Career Counselor whom I had opened communication with.  This was a form of homework in itself, but what is nice about it is that all I had to do was ask, and I got help; and this is something that matters, so…not a bad deal?

And, as I mentioned before, I did turn in a paper (30% of my grade, unless I’m mistaken) and another 15-point assignment on Sunday.  I didn’t want to have to work on it, but it didn’t really matter, because I had to do it (or to at least try to do it) and that actually made it easier for me to push through it — and concentrate.

By the end of this Sunday, I will have to read about 15 pages in my textbook and answer a Discussion question.  This should be relatively easy, though I shouldn’t forget that I will want to view the lectures after having done the reading, and probably before answering the discussion topic.

On top of that, I have to give a 5-10 minute presentation on my paper topic, which probably won’t be too much of a big deal.  What I need to make sure to do is get my slide presentation put together, and the speech (or rather, the speech points) organized and practiced, before setting up.  The voice recorder on my computer should help.

Both those things, I’ll have to do before Monday.  Unless I’m mistaken, the quiz I’ve been working on should be due Monday.  After that is accomplished, the only other thing I will have due is a literature review, and I’ll have a full week after that to get 10-12 things read, reviewed, and turned in.  My family member’s funeral will be this week — I’m not betting on that going down smoothly, nor am I betting on being recovered by the Monday following.  Ideally, I’ll be done with everything and able to turn in my Lit Review on Friday, at the latest.  That’s two or more articles to read, per day.  Easy.

I know which chapter I’ll be investigating for that project, as well.  I’ve just got to find the articles — citations for a number of them, I have already.  I just need to actually locate them, which sounds like something brainless to do when I get tired of my other work.

And, right:  I will also need to back up my files to my portfolio — something I haven’t done because of not wanting to look up my syllabi (which is stupid; they’re in the covers of their respective folders).

This means that Sunday — the 21st — and forward, I should be able either to work on art, or take that long-awaited celebratory trip to the art store and pick up what I’ve been wanting to, for the past month or so.  And — or — I can try and sharpen my chisels on my aluminum-oxide waterstone…which I’ve never done before.  But I do have the waterstone, water, and chisels.  Nothing to lose, really.  (I have a sizeable burr on the edge of one of my woodcutting chisels, from high-school days when I was wedging out hardened plaster with the edge of the knife and ended up bending the steel’s cutting edge.  The burr may be too big for me to save the knife [will I ruin my waterstone?], but I should take a look at it, anyway.)

I should also…not count out going to an actual chisel shop.  I’ll know which one I’m referring to, when I see this post.

The positive thing is that I only have 5 hours of salaried work in between now and the time my quiz, discussion post, and presentation are due.  I know it seems big, like “AAAGH I’ve got to go in to work,” but it’s really not a lot of time, in the scheme of things.  (It’s barely over half a day.)  Especially not when you can stay up until 2 and 4 AM working on things.

I’ve also been offered more hours at the job, but considering that I’m not even particularly clear on when Summer Session starts, I’m not throwing myself into that, right now.  (Just checked:  I’ll have two weeks between the end of Finals and the start of Summer Session, which I’m assuming will be a 15-hour commitment, per week, on top of my now 11-hour commitment at my regular job.  That [26 hours] does leave a lot of free time, though.  Maybe I could take on four hours additional…)

The thing I do wish I had done more of?  I wish I had played around with the cataloging tools, more — particularly where it comes to RDA (Resource Description and Access, used in building bibliographic records).  I wasn’t betting on not being able to access them after the semester ended — there are tools available, but the one I just checked was institution-only, meaning that individuals can’t subscribe to use the databases.

I also had a fun time nerding out over art supplies with a couple of people, the other day.  🙂  That was nice, especially as I understand the perspective of one person in particular…

And I’m seeing that I have now stayed up over an hour into tomorrow…so I think I’ll sign off and get ready for bed; though because I haven’t taken any medication, I may still be up for another two hours.  It will be a good time to get some reading done, if I can’t sleep.

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Hmm. I need to work on looking at what types of jobs are out there…

I hope you’ll forgive me if I put the scriptwriting-class-drama down for a moment and attempt not to speak of it.  The short of it is that I’ve withdrawn.

What comes next?  The good point, which I’d forgotten until just now, is that I’ve got Friday and Saturday off for Independence Day.  This means that I probably won’t feel so bad for not having done much today other than clean my bathroom.

Basically, out here, the temperature was around 90° F today.  Plus, I don’t live alone, and M’s idea of trying to cool down the house was to open the windows — even though at one point, when I checked, it was 6° warmer outside than inside.  (The difference was much more drastic earlier, but I can’t remember the numbers.)  In addition, it got so hot in the computer room that I turned off the computer to avoid damage.

This means that although I could have been awake and making art today (I woke to the alarm I’d forgotten to shut off last night, then reawakened after my class would have been over), I was mostly trying to stay still and in the shade, with M’s blessing.  The good part about this is that I cleaned my room yesterday (including the top of the bookcase), so at least my surroundings were nice.  I had new sheets to sweat in, and everything.

There are also some interpersonal conflicts happening, and one of my family members is relocating.  M says that this isn’t the reason she’s been upset, but I don’t believe this is a time to be taking her words on face value.

Beyond this — I did meet with a counselor yesterday.  Apparently, so far as things go, withdrawing from this semester will not affect my financial aid — however, starting in Fall 2015, I’ll have to watch out to avoid withdrawing.  If I Withdraw from more than half of my attempted units or get below a 2.0 GPA for more than half of my units for two consecutive semesters (and these things may interact with each other), my financial aid will be rescinded.

So it really is a good thing that I’m not going to have to worry about needing to be in classes past Spring 2016.  I probably will want to, particularly where Figure Drawing:  Special Projects or Figure Drawing:  Anatomy and/or Artist as Citizen and/or Beginning Gallery Management and/or Islamic Art History come in, but it’s optional.  I know that certainly after Fall 2016 I will want to be either honing my digital skills (though I’ve already been introduced to basic Illustrator and Photoshop — I’d be looking at InDesign I, Photoshop II, or Illustrator I), or looking for a new job and/or internship.  In the meantime it will be good to nurture the art and make as much money at my current job as is feasible.

Speaking of which — I’m thinking of doing this without pulling in special help.  When I got my first job (the one I’m in now) I was really fairly afraid of people.  (I was a scared young volunteer.)  But that was about 5 years ago, and I’ve gotten better with both confidence and interpersonal communication.  Still, though — you know, it’s my first job, and my supervisor knows that for a lot of us, it will be our first job.

I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to continue on in the library for the rest of my life.  Even being a Clerk…how is that better than working the cash register at someplace like a local art store?  As a Clerk, I’d still probably have to be on circulation for three or four hours every day, and I worry enough about my two hours as it is.  (I have noted, though, that my anticipation of having to be on desk is worse than actually being on desk.)  Probably the only benefit to being a Clerk instead of a Cashier is that there’s less money to steal…

Then there’s the fact that my current supervisor knows that I still have some aversion to people, and so may not recommend me for a front-line position.  Which may really be good, in the long run.  It just means, though, that I’ll need to look for a position which is not a public service position.  The issue with this (which probably also applies to a lot of younger job seekers as well) is that non-service positions seem more or less invisible.

Hmm.  Maybe I do want to take one or two of those positions with the help of the college — working for a nonprofit org. as an artist, and/or working in a gallery.  If I hang in there with Modern Art History, I should be pretty well prepped to take the Gallery position, after getting my AA.

Maybe I should enlist the help of the State, too (beyond EDD), if I can’t find a good job within a few months after the end of the Gallery and/or nonprofit classes.  I’m told that having stayed in this position for as long as I have is counted as a success, and so I’d be taken back, even though I’ve found I don’t want to settle into this field.

The thing about this is just that I hate to act like I have a disability, even though that is part of my makeup.  (Maybe it wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t been subject to so much peer abuse, but that’s…water under the bridge.)  Last time…I was placed with a counselor who would stay with me until I got a job.  This actually really helped.  Of course, I was also seeking a job at the height of the Recession, so people were retiring everywhere and at one time there were something like 400 applicants (that’s a low estimate — it may have been something like 600 applied and 400 showed up for the test) for four open positions at a nearby library.

Anyhow — it’s late, and my mind is showing it.

Maybe getting the State’s help isn’t a bad idea…but I just shouldn’t depend on them as heavily this time, given that the last time was an introductory course in How to Get a Job.  This time, I’ll be in How to Get a Job II.  😉  (okay, getting loopy — good night!)

Visions of the future…

…plus some rather profound insights as to why I’d like several close friends as my “family,” but am iffy on a mate or child.

I’ve been doing some thinking — rather sporadically, really, but still thinking — about what I want my life to be like in the future.  I picked up a book which is really good for interdisciplinary types, called, You Majored in What? by Katharine Brooks.  I did the second exercise of the book on Thanksgiving night, and found, to my surprise, that major themes of my life showed up there.  Three of those themes, in no particular order, are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Spirituality
  3. Identity

Fourteen years ago, I realized that I had no idea who I was, so I set out to “find myself.”  That journey is still going on; in fact, I’m working on it right now.  What I find…really interesting is that all three of these factors interrelate — profoundly, in the sense that my spirituality influences my creativity and my identity, and my creativity influences my spirituality and identity.  Oddly enough, it seems that the factor of “identity” is now taking something of a back seat.  I do suppose that it’s taken up the majority of my last decade and a half, so I can give it a rest sometime, right?  😉

Today I went to a Christmas fair, and along the way I stopped to tinker with one of the guitars (a Classical guitar — nylon string), much to the chagrin of the guy who told me to “be careful” (I bumped a ukulele) and “take a seat.”  The guitar was $100, what could I say?  Of course, he probably thought I was 14 and didn’t have any money, but.

Anyhow, I was playing around with tuning one of the guitars and just listening to the sounds that came out of it.  (This would only have worked if the low E was accurate, which I assumed it was.)  I don’t really need a guitar — I have two steel-strings at my disposal — but I’ve wanted to take some actual for-real lessons with someone who knows what they’re doing, and learn Classical Guitar (including music reading) for a while, now.  This is especially as I’ve realized the connection for me between art and music.

When I get good enough at guitar, I start being able to write my own songs, just by playing around with notes and chords.  But I don’t have a great way to record this (other than tabulature — which I’ve used) and I was never taught a five-finger picking technique, or how to mute strings, which kind of makes things difficult when I’m picking out individual notes.

The reason I haven’t taken this back up again is that I just really don’t know if I have the time for it.  There’s that, and the fact that I don’t really have any great aims to become a musician (or the naivete to think I’ll be able to make it as one), so it can feel like a waste of resources — mostly, time and energy.  I even remember listening in on a web conversation once where one of the people who was practicing felt like it was more of a liability than something that would help them survive.  (Of course, that was one person.)  And I really do like practicing, but it requires commitment, and that’s difficult to continue when you don’t know what you’re doing and don’t know how to fix what’s wrong.

To become practiced and stay competent, and really reap the fruits of what I’m doing, daily — well — practice is required.  I probably do have the 30 minutes to spare each day, but again, I was taught this in high school by a teacher who wasn’t all that great, and so at this point, I’m really unprepared.  And also, add this on top of 30 minutes of drawing each day, when both can easily spill over into multiple hours of work…?

But anyway!  I say this to say that…I feel like what I really want from my life — what I really want is to fill my life with art, writing, and music.  I want to be employed in one of those fields, as well; just, doing what, I’m not sure of yet…though as “Diversity” did come up as one of my other Themes, it’s reasonable to say…well, maybe a teacher of music to neurodiverse people?  (If I didn’t have to speak so much, it would be easier.)

It also seems that none of these fields are really…financially stable choices.  I wouldn’t say that I don’t value money, because I do; because it enables me to stay alive while pursuing creative ventures.  But money isn’t the driving point of my life.

Other visions of the future?  Having a few close friends.  I don’t think I’d need a partner, if I had several good friends and adequate emotional intimacy; I’ve never really been good romantically, and I don’t even really know if I’m a sexual person, at this point.  I have felt desire/respect/”you=awesome”, but I’m not certain how far that goes, you know?  I can love people, but it’s not in a way that I think people really expect, or recognize, as love.

No kids, unless I’m the father (I don’t really want to be a primary source of love and care for a child, in the way a mother is expected to be…I’m just not sure it would be fair to the kid); the other thing is that I want to be able to have enough time and money to be creative, myself.

(And right now I’m reading back over this and realizing that not necessarily wanting a partner or child fits right in with my “not-very-social” orientation.)

The goal is to bring what is in me — what I experience — out.  There’s enough nurturing I’ll be having to do there.  And I suppose that if I weren’t going to have a child, influencing my society can also be had by participating in society, rather than raising my kid and expecting them to do it.

I’ve also realized that the most pressing reason for me to have taken a job at the Library is my own ethical foundation, however warped that is or not.  😉  Aside from that…and relationships I’ve developed, and the fact that it’s a relatively stable paycheck, and has flexible hours, there’s not much reason to stay there.  It’s just not connected to much anything else in my life.

Yes, books; but books can be had without the Library; and just because I like to read (when the reading is interesting, at least) — it allows me access to the world of human thought without actually having to interface with living people — it doesn’t mean I want to be a Librarian.  Librarians, in my system, need to be social.  I’m really not; at least, not so much that looking forward to dealing with the general public day after day for the rest of my life is a good thing.

I suppose it’s good that I developed that understanding without having gotten a Library Science Master’s, first.  And no, I don’t know why no one took it seriously when directing me to this field for employment.  I think one of my counselors mentioned that I’d have to deal with people, once, and I thought it would be OK because I’d never been in that situation before.  I didn’t realize that being a Public Librarian is a public service position and that if I did move higher to be the person in charge, I might need the skills of a Social Worker to be able to deal with all of it.

And right now I’m thinking of one of my personality tests; “Social” as an orientation is dead last.  Not even kidding.  I got like an 8 or 10 or something, there, where I got 40s and 50s in other categories.  I was also tested in a different system at a different time; my results indicated that I should not be coming into frequent contact with the general public.

I didn’t know until recently, though, that not only do I have traits that correspond with being on the autism spectrum, I am indeed on the autism spectrum.  This is in addition to everything else that’s going on.  I only found this out very recently, though; apparently, my parents had been told but I had not been.

This bit of information, though, makes it more apparent just why I have so many social difficulties, why I have such low social motivation, why I don’t like watching television, why I can deal with people on the job, but for much of the time don’t want to (at least not when they’re abusive or pushy or drunk or I’m dealing with politics — or when I’m anticipating any one of these).  I mean, who really wants to deal with that, right?  But I dislike dealing with it so much that I’ve dropped a former career goal because of it.  I might be mistaken, but I don’t imagine that most people are as avoidant of this as I am.

No — wait.  I actually dropped two career goals because of this.  I used to be a Sociology major, because I didn’t know how human relations worked, and I wanted to find out.  Then I realized that being in a Social Science meant having to be social, which is something that’s extremely difficult for me.  Like, no — I don’t want to stand at the bus stop and ask random people I don’t know to take my survey when it has no payoff for them at all.  No.

But it explained why I kept running across different people online who had Asperger’s and took likings to me, because they could understand my writing!  Like, “oh, hey — you mean I keep attracting people with Asperger’s because I have Asperger’s?”  I’m kind of wondering how many others in my physical life also deal with this.  There are at least two people I’ve met recently whom I suspect fall into this category — one outed themselves early on; the other is just socially awkward (and I suspect took my Communications class, like myself, with the hope of improving communication skills…which, at this point, I doubt will be an outcome for anyone).

I’m thinking at this point that maybe I should ask to have time off when the Interpersonal Communication group I know of runs…it’s not at an ideal time, but it’s possible I might be able to make it…

Finally getting around to writing up what I learned from the Academic Advisor…

A couple of days ago, I went to see an Academic Advisor at my college.  The insights I got out of that experience were many; I’m just hoping I can record the most salient of them, here.

The first point to take care of is to complete the Animation certificate which I am one class away from obtaining.  That class is Beginning Figure Drawing, which…I suppose could be fun?  I really don’t know; what I do know is that it should help me develop my style where it comes to illustrating people.  This, obviously, would help in a Graphic Novel direction!  However, I’d probably have to watch out for that one teacher who “hates anime” in order to save myself some skin.

What I was told most directly is that having a foundation in Art, Multimedia, Technical Writing, and Business would make me well-prepared for a plethora of jobs.  Basically I was told that it’s a “powerful combination.”  There is one class given at the undergraduate level which I know of, which could introduce me to Technical Writing.  I also know of one place I can go which would enable me to obtain a Technical Writing Certificate — it is not a Master’s, as I now know.

There are three other classes which look promising which I have noted down in my Random Thoughts journal, under the date, 9/9/14.  This makes a total of five, so far.

The next step is to do research into what career options are open to me now.  This includes an online job search, and checking the job boards both at my current and past workplaces (which may lead into a job somehow connected to my present line of work — for example, with Project Second Chance) and at the nonprofit community center I’ve been visiting (which could lead into a differently-related job which could help me assist my target population).

There’s a clear need for me to see what jobs need to be done; for example, whether the community center needs publicity or outreach; and whether I can fill that gap with my skill set.  This is all reminding me of that “pain letter” thing that’s been going around LinkedIn, which would also probably be a good place to visit.  I’m hoping that my 2013 version of What Color Is Your Parachute? would be a good starting point to see where I should be looking online.  I mean, yeah, Craigslist, we all know Craigslist, right?  But there are probably more-hidden and higher-quality listings than this.  Like dice.com, but obviously that’s a bit out of my range.

The next step after identifying what work needs to be done is to find out what skills are needed to move up in the jobs which are available now.  That will tell me which classes I should be taking, in addition to Beginning Figure Drawing, come Spring and later.

I can also see whether a Certificate in Technical Writing will actually make me more marketable as a Technical Writer, or not so much.  I’ve been told that it isn’t necessarily the case that I’d need a certification.  However — I do know of a program which would let me audit courses with the relevant University to see if I like it before I enter it fully.  It doesn’t look like the Certificate program is very long, though.  Basically, it’s eight classes (and twenty five bazillion dollars, right?  I guess I shouldn’t be cracking on it though — I haven’t checked the fees).

I know I wasn’t totally into this before.  But after browsing the catalog of a University which I know I can make it into, I’m pretty certain that this program is one which I’m more ready to take on (I’m prepared for it) and which sounds more interesting than the rest.  Of course, we live in a capitalist system, so it would seem like everything is about making money — for someone.  I think I’m just lucky that the community center I visit sometimes hasn’t shut down — there were rumors several years ago that it was going to.

So apparently, managing a job search is kind of like being in a class, itself.  😛

There is more I could pull in from my notes, here.  One thing — granted to me by a different counselor — was to begin researching the nonprofits I’d want to work for, and ask about their staffing levels, which jobs were available, whether there were volunteerships, what skills were needed, etc.  I’m not entirely sure what else follows the etc., but I can try and think on it some more.  🙂

I’m told Art is good with writing, especially Technical Writing.

From my own coffer, I need to be mindful of what technologies are becoming obsolete. To me this means, for example, MS Access, which has been around forever (or at least since I was a small child).  I’ve wanted to re-learn how to use it, but it looks like the future is in cloud computing and web-based applications, and moving away from software like MS Office.

I’m still thinking of Web Publishing as a good direction to take this, as most places now have an online presence, and so someone has to manage that.  If I know how to write, how to draw and paint, and how to upload and tweak my images (or produce the data as a digital native), this could turn out cool.  I have taken classes on Digital Imaging, but I’d rather not be stuck as the person who draws everything, you know?  😉  But composing a page is a different ordeal.

I think the point I’d need to be sure of is what qualifies as either open-source or changed-enough-not-to-be-copyright-infringement, if you get my drift.  In that case, Business Law would be a great class to take.  So, there’s a sixth class.  And I would very likely love to be in the Contemporary Color class.  (Colors are either additive [as in projections of light; like a television or computer monitor] or subtractive [as in reflections of light; dyes, paints and such]; I’ve taken a color class in the latter schema, but not the former.)

The last point is that I’ll need somewhere to demonstrate my writing ability — that will likely be via one or more blogs, probably eventually a web presence of my own, and a portfolio (which I just reminded myself I need to work on).  And, what I will be doing over all of this is looking for a job which will let me bring in the greatest number of my skills.

Before signing up for Spring 2015, I’ll want to narrow this constellation down to my top three priorities, and see my Academic Advisor again.  Right now I have four priorities which will likely shift around depending on the results of my research:

1) Multimedia Arts (Web Design & Production)
2) Writing (Technical Writing)
3) Art (to feed into Web Design & Production)
4) Business (to feed into Web Design & Production and Technical Writing)

Phew!  That was a lot of information, wasn’t it?!  At least it’s in a narrative format, now…

’cause I’m happy

Hello!  😀

I’m feeling a lot better about my career/life path, now that I have some additional information.

The most striking thing that I realized, today, was how much more easily I am able to get out of bed when I have the art practice (and blogging) to look forward to.  I’ve been getting about 6-8 hours of sleep a night, as versus before, which was so dysfunctional that I hesitate to admit to it online.  😉  It hasn’t been easy — and I have been napping in the daytime — but I don’t feel like I’m wasting so much of my life, anymore.

I went to work today for the 8-hour shift that I’ve switched into.  What I can say about working all day as versus working 3-5 hours at a stretch over multiple days is that…it’s really nice to be able to have four days off in a row, where I can go to school and not stress about work.  I could easily draw the amount of pay I’m getting now, for example, by working two full-day shifts…though of course that would have to be at a time when my employer can accommodate me!

I picked up some books on career from the library today which focus on using Writing as a skill to make a living, and getting a job after having majored in a branch of English.  My other class on communication is really validating now that I know that it ties into my art, my writing, and some of the identity issues I’ve had over the course of my life.  In particular, the concept that I’ve gained over time — that no matter what I do, other people will still project their own meanings and messages onto me — is somewhat freeing, because then I don’t have to try to get people to recognize me “as me.”  Because they will never see me as I see myself.  That means that, within a certain range of safety, I can do whatever I want and not worry about what other people are seeing.  This is the insight I’ve been leading up to for a while.

This is nice on the gender front, specifically, knowing that I am gender-variant, but in such an everyday manner that unless and until I say something, others don’t suspect my history and inner experience.  And that is such a powerful thing to know — that I will have to say something if I want to be seen.  And that, just wow — that I can present in a feminine manner and interact in a feminine way and it’s OK!  And when I’m interacting with males, it doesn’t all have to circle around reproduction.

How long did it take me to get to that point?

Well, I’m feeling really good today, and I’m thinking and hoping it’s in a healthy way.  And I’m thinking that it’s likely due to my classes and not being locked into a career path, and finding a potential path in which I could excel (Technical Writing).  Also, I now have two first places to look for meaningful work, and I have two classes within the Art program that I could take which would give me work experience.  If I wanted to pursue a Master’s, I’ve found a program.  I could work at an QUILTBAG nonprofit, but I could also do more.  If I learned to communicate visually, through text and also through speech (and possibly also nonverbally), I’d be in a really strong position.

And I’ve been told that if I do get a job which pays well and which I’m happy in, I don’t have to keep going to Community College.  I asked about this the other night and was told, basically, that I don’t have to continue until I do get the Business certificate.  I could learn on the job.

That in itself — prioritizing work and school — helped so much.  Now I know that I don’t have to spend the next two years in a dance between part-time work and part-time college courses.  Plus, I don’t have to stay in my present job permanently.  It’s a stepping-stone job, not one I’d stay in forever.  And if I were a Technical Writer, I wouldn’t have to deal with many people I didn’t know, all the time.  Also, I have a good reason to stay in Art.

Art practice is in some way healing for me.  It’s challenging, and it can be scary, but my professor is very good at easing the fears of judgment and failure.  Neither have I had to deal so much with the scariness around the question of where my creativity is coming from, because I’m understanding it in the moment as play or as a visual representation of mathematical/geometric thought, or as constructing something nonobjectively, or as training myself to see more attentively, or as a visual way of trying to solve a problem.  It’s working out to be really awesome.

And yes, now I want to take Watercolor.  😛

The pineapple drawing I mentioned in comment to the last post is dry now; I’ll see if I can transfer it over for you.

talked to teacher about career path; feeling much better.

I probably should have written something about this right when I got home, but I think I only really got about 5 hours of sleep last night, and the bed was inviting.

I spoke with my Drawing teacher today, who told me that all kinds of organizations need good writers, for both internal and external communications.  Plus, having a degree in Creative Writing speaks to creativity and the ability to persuade.  The point to be stressed, is to let people know you have skills; and to be able to communicate the benefits they’ll gain if they hire you.  Which means, in effect, it’s a really good thing that I’m in this Communications class.  Which, you know, I’m not really hating as much as I thought I would.

It sounds like, basically, Art is one of these things like Creative Writing, where it’s hard to make a living doing solely and exactly that.  She said teaching positions were not common.

At this point, she very much encouraged me in my idea of using skills gained in a Business certificate to help out a nonprofit.  Plus, she agreed with my counselor, who said that the next step was to investigate places where I might be hired and find out their staffing levels, what positions they have, etc.  I also let her know that I’d like to work in some way on the back end of a nonprofit, like with bookkeeping or helping with grant writing, and I wouldn’t want to be the person who greets everyone as they come in the door (as I have to do at my present job).

There is also a class which she encouraged me to take next semester, about using art skills to help out a nonprofit.  This is not just because I’d expressed interest in doing so (or did I?), but because the teacher of that class is really well-connected among a lot of local nonprofits, and so it would be a good place to network.  In addition, not only should I look at local nonprofits within my general region, but looking at larger cities and smaller communities would be of use as well.

I feel like I should have taken more notes, but the takeaway is that if one only develops Art skills, it’s going to be difficult to make a living.  I do have other skills as evinced by my Creative Writing BA and my work in the Business track at my current college; and I shouldn’t lock myself in to depending on Art.  She also encouraged me to volunteer and see if I liked the work, as it would be a way to become seen and known by the people who run the nonprofit; which could eventually lead to a paying job, and ongoing development which would enable me to use more and more of my skills within that setting.  I’d also be able to see if I even liked the work, and if I didn’t, I could move on to another interest.

She also said that I came off as very confident (really? must be age) and that it sounded like I knew what I was interested in — particularly, helping out people in minority gender communities.  Which…was surprising, because to me it feels very much more like I have a lot of varied interests and varied skills…so I have a hard time focusing in and choosing a few to pursue initially.  I mean, I’d even mentioned the possibility of becoming a Professor of Eastern Philosophy, which indicated that I was interested in teaching, which if extended meant that I could help with education around gender issues.

I think it’s likely that my interests, abstracted, create a kind of constellation of my views and values and interests, and the goal is to integrate as many of these into my working life as I can.  Or, this is the vision my awesomely-creative teacher saw in what I told her.  After I spoke with her, she said that I could talk to her again later if I wanted or needed to.

I’m very glad I reached out to her.  I think it was qualitatively different than what would have happened if I’d gone to see a career counselor after I got out of class, which I was kind of on the fence about.  I will try and do so next time I get to school…but I think my choice of a source for help was right on, this time.

Getting some sense of the turf.

I just finished “finalizing” my schedule for Fall semester, though I’ve changed my classes so many times that it’s not even very hilarious at all.  😉  I was looking through the schedule at classes which I may want to take, given a Business major — or, at least, a program of study focused on Business, even if I don’t get the shiny piece of paper.  (It would be nice if it actually was shiny — now that would be kind of funny…)

From my study at the career counseling website I spoke of earlier, I’m thinking that if I do go into the Business field, I may be forced to supervise and/or manage people.  This is even though dealing with people in real-time is a weak point for me (I think it’s just assumed that this is not so because I have a degree in the Humanities).

So I actually, flukeishly, went and looked at classes in the Communications department.  One of them seemed relevant and fit my schedule perfectly, so I wouldn’t be putting my boss out to reorganize the work schedule more than they already are, and I wouldn’t be putting out my friend who wanted to take an Art class with me.

I’m not certain that Advanced Math is where I want to go.  It sounds fun from here, but my parents remember me crying over Honors Math as a kid (seriously), and I think they don’t want to repeat that.  I was basically traumatized enough by Math in high school that given the choice, I didn’t take it again until Statistics came up as I was studying to be a sociologist.  [sarcasm]Yes, see, pushing kids past their breaking point and giving them so much homework that they will never be able to finish it all really helps them excel and learn to put work first.[/sarcasm]

I really don’t recall what happened to throw me off the Social Sciences track anyway (probably the “social” part of it), but there you go.

But anyhow.  Either late last night or early this morning, after reading over some stuff, including my last post here, I decided to go the route of Business first, Computers second.  My classes will largely be drawn from Business, Computer Info. Systems, and Communications.  I’m told I won’t need Advanced Math, even if I do go the Accounting route — but the hardcore Accounting class I tried and then dropped (I missed a 4-hour class because of illness and then couldn’t make it up and didn’t know what to do) was so confusing for me that I’m thinking of taking the basic one next time, instead.  With a different professor.  Or I could try a different school…

Then we have classes which will help with an office job, though I probably don’t need to take those for college credit.  I’ve had a semester of MS Access already, though I don’t remember much of it now; and I can use Excel decently enough.  I’ll still have to find a couple of textbooks which will help me refresh those skills.  I’m not sure of PeachPit’s focus anymore, but I have good feelings surrounding their press, so I can look them up (and see if they still exist).  Word, I use constantly, so that’s not a problem.  PowerPoint, I can learn on my own.

Most of what I need deals with human relations, computer programming, and finance.  And that’s about it.  The other thing that I was thinking about was entering a paraprofessional program to take up a job as a Library Assistant.  I have a degree already, and taking the classes would open up the paraprofessional activity and salary level to me, which is decent enough to live on.  However, the program that I’d likely utilize is being revamped, so it will likely be a year or two at least before they can get the program together.

A deeper reason I’d want to be at Reference, though, is that I’d like to get the experience so that if I do work with an LGBTQIA nonprofit, I’ll have the experience of having worked in Information Services already.  I’m thinking that this would help, especially as regards determining what a user’s actual needs are (as versus what they think they need).

This also came up, back when I almost took my second Graphic Design class — the prof was saying that we needed to be able to discern what a client actually wanted/needed, as versus what they said they wanted/needed.  This was enough to scare me out of there.  But I’m thinking that if I can develop better people skills, this won’t be such a big handicap to me anymore.

I think I’ll probably have a hard time of things if I go through life trying to avoid human interaction.  And it’s not really a big mystery to me why I have trouble interacting with people:  until I entered the adult world with my first job, people in general had not been very kind to me.  I’m told that my interactions with the public in this job amount to “exposure therapy” as regards social anxiety.  And, I’m just hoping that the anxiety can progressively get better with experience.

On that note, I should probably get going, but it’s nice to be able to write, and be heard, here.  🙂