“So you want to teach?”

FRIDAY, MARCH 9, 2012

I’d like to give readers a fair warning that this post deviates slightly from what I’ve been writing, but I’ll ask you to bear with me…

More times than not, when I tell people I major in History and Spanish, they ask if I want to: a) teach, or b) working in a museum.

While much of life I considered teaching I now answer this question with “Well, actually…,” and usually set people up for a longer explanation about my interest in non-profit.

I have to admit, it wasn’t until relatively recently that I fully consciously understood non-profits. Throughout my life, I’ve had various experiences volunteering with non-profit organizations that benefit both local and global communities, all of which were positive. When I sat down and really considered these experiences, I came to some important conclusions. First, compared to several of the paid jobs I have had, I have enjoyed my volunteer positions much more. I think this is due to the passion that others put into these projects, and my own passion that I can contribute. Therefore, I reasoned, I want a job that feels like one of these volunteer positions, one where I can use my passion to serve others.

And now you may ask how I explain the relevance of my fields of study to the non-profit world. Well, right away I would say that both my history and Spanish classes have helped me develop my oral and written communication skills – and trust me, it wasn’t always easy! As well, as trite as it may sound, I do think I’ve learned to “think critically.” I’ve been trained to ask questions of nearly everything I encounter, and to think about material in various ways in order to find a multidimensional perspective. Yet, these are skills that are important in any career. What I believe is most significant is the perspectives on humanity I have gained from my studies. Naturally, my Spanish studies have expanded my world; for example, without the ability to speak Spanish, I would have had greater difficulty learning about Honduras and building relationships with the people there. What I think studying history can do for anyone is give them a greater understanding of and appreciation for humanity. History has opened my eyes to not only the problems humanity has encountered, but also the ways in which people have striven to make their worlds better. So much of this is beyond the scope of the work that I will do, but it is the optimistic spirit that I see passionate individuals bring to their work, particularly in not-for-profit organizations.

This is how I view the benefits of my studies to my future and to my overall person. I hope that this post, though lengthy and digressive, will shed light on my thoughts and cause you to think as well.

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