Sunday, August 21, 2005

Have I been following the wrong career path?

It has occurred to me from time to time that I may be following in the wrong career path, that I may not be as well suited to be a journalist as I have always thought. I've always been a calm, non-controversial person, someone who avoids conflict, and I have never been very good about standing up to people that surprised me with their infidelity when I was so faithful to them.

This may be a bunch of babble to you, but let me attempt to clear it up a bit.

When I was in my senior year of high school, I joined my school's newspaper. My success was instant, going from a mere contributer to News Page Editor in the course of two months. I found I had a flair for writing, editing, and interviewing. As time went on, I established my college major in Print Journalism, never changing it once. I graduated cum laude in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in Print Journalism. I went further, taking nine hours of graduate coursework in the same field.

From the time I graduated from high school, I had numerous opportunities to build on my education by substantiating it with work in the "real world." Over time, I have found the "real world" as it relates to journalism to prove itself as something that I increasingly do not want to be a part of. Most people in the media are very liberal, as will not come as a shock to most of you. I, however, am very conservative. I do not agree with the majority of beliefs held by other journalists. Those in the media are also very fond of stabbing each other in the back – something I've never been good at or fond of. Maybe that's why I've not been able to survive in the mainstream media fields.

You may be able to surmise from the previous paragraph that I am no longer working for The Wichita Eagle, a company that I had been dreaming of working for (literally) since I was sitting in my high school's journalism class working on the school newspaper. The reasons surrounding my termination are fishy, so I will not go into detail here. Those who would like further explanation are welcome to e-mail me personally. My suspicions are that I somehow ticked off my boss by asking for lunch breaks and assistance with paperwork.

Since my dismissal, I've given more serious thought to a career field that has revealed itself more and more as a God-given gift, one that cannot be taken away from me, an area that will allow me to choose my own work hours and flexibility, will allow me to help and socialize with people, and an area in which I will always be able to find work: as an interpreter for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing. Of course, I can also work this in with my Mary Kay business, another field that I can work as I please with the hours as flexible as I want, and is something that will never go unneeded.

Toward this end, I have enrolled in a couple of classes in an Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at Cowley County Community College. The completion of the courses outlined in the ITP will result in the accumulation of an Associates of Applied Science in Interpreting. From there, I will have to take a test to be certified by the State of Kansas, and will be elligible to be listed on a national registry of interpreters of the Deaf. My classes (two for this semester) start tomorrow evening.

As I have stated before, interpreters are very much in need, especially within the LCMS, and especially here in Wichita. That is why I am pursuing this as an avenue toward becoming a church interpreter. My church, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, is supporting me, also, by allowing me to teach a beginning American Sign Language class during the Midweek program. The Board of Evangelism will be paying for my teaching materials, and may be able to send me to the Church Interpreter Training Institute, a two-week intensive interpreter training program hosted by Concordia Seminary Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the summer. So far, 12 people have signed up to take my class at church. I'm thinking about offering a Saturday class for those who can't make it to the Wednesday classes.

What's more: when I went to Cowley College to enroll, I informed the advisor of my intentions to teach ASL at my church, and he gathered my and my church's information so that he could direct people toward my class! Apparently, the program at Cowley is strictly for those interested in becoming interpreters, not just for those wanting to learn sign language. The advisor said that he tries to direct those wanting to learn sign language toward churches that offer the classes. As a result, our church may experience a slight growth in membership! Wouldn't that be nice?

From the classes I took as an undergrad at Wichita State University, I already have five of 12 classes completed, and may be able to test out of another one. I should be able to complete the program rather quickly, provided Ron and I can find ways to pay for the classes. If it's God's will, it will happen. I have a feeling that this is a huge, open bay window that God showed me after the door on journalism slammed shut in my face. (*OUCH*)

Maybe this is what I'm supposed to do. I've been learning sign language since sixth grade, and have been in semi-frequent contact with the Deaf community and those who assist them, and also the friends and family of those in the Deaf community. I have learned a great deal, and have found it increasingly easy and comforting to be able to communicate with these people and to interpret for them. Not everyone is able to do this effectively, and I'll admit that I have a distance to travel before I could be considered proficient, but I'm making the journey. God willing, I will be able to serve Him and His unhearing sheep with my hands.


bunniediehl said...

I love what you're thinking here! Not that earthly work is ever terribly fulfilling, but I hope that you find great success here.

Mrs. T. Swede said...

Thank you, Bunnie. I'm praying for the strength and endurance to finish my schooling, because I know it will be worth it. Interpreters can always find work if they get a high enough certification. I'm not too worried about that.

I think my focus will be church work, but that's not to say I wouldn't work elsewhere, too.

And I think this will be much more fulfilling for me than my previous line of work.

Elle said...

I'm thrilled for this change God has brought into your life! How absolutely exciting to see Him using you this way!