Once again, this past Wednesday, I was a “storyteller” at Mankato’s Career Expo at the Civic Center for area high school freshmen and sophomores.
The event includes rooms of “Storytellers” who sit at tables. The students “speed date” around the tables, finding out about the various storytellers’ journeys to their current careers.
I talked about becoming a writer. Of course, I had spent over three hours preparing a 9-minute spiel about what it takes to be a writer. That went out the window with the first two groups, NONE of whom had the slightest interest in becoming a writer. So I just told my story about learning to follow my own passion instead of doing everything I was told to do to be “good” and to succeed.
As far as I could tell, out of the dozens of students I saw, perhaps three were interested in writing. When I expanded the concept to music and visual art, I’m sure there were at least a dozen.
An amazing number of sophomores want to do construction or childcare as careers. I had a couple determined to be surgeons or family physicians, and quite a few future computer programmers or engineers. One future video game developer. (I was surprised that it was only one, but more power to that one girl who said it). I wonder how many studies have been done about how much perception of career changes between age fourteen and twenty-one.
In the long run, it was lots of fun, and I had some good laughs with most of the groups. The poor first group of two didn’t get much out of it, I’m sure, because they were self-conscious and not willing to pretend to be interested. After I warmed up, however, it was a good experience, and I think–at least I hope–that everybody got at least some tiny spark of info from our ten minutes together.
Lies about being a writer:
Being an author makes you famous.
Being an author makes you rich.
You have to do it because you love it so much, you can’t imagine doing anything else.
Follow your passion, even if it’s only for your own satisfaction in life.