In 2009, I made the decision to return to school and obtain a second Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. This time I would apply myself. I would study and try my best not to procrastinate. I would work as a volunteer and devote myself to causes within the major. I would work on a research project and continue on into a PhD program. My goal, at the time, was to move forward into the world of academia and become a Sociology Professor.
From the moment I stepped into my first Sex and Gender class I was hooked. From there I took classes on social movements, race and class, ethnography, emotions, environmental sociology, power, research methods (qualitative and quantitative), and many other topics within the realm of social science. I had made a pact with myself that since this was a second bachelors degree I would not spend more than 2 years at the school. I had already obtained a BA from the same school and so I was not required to take many of the core classes that I took the first time around. This meant that my course of study was very specific to sociology (with a bit of anthropology thrown in for good measure – could never stay away from Dr. Fish!) and allowed me to be immersed in the subject matter. I began my studies in January of 2009 and I completed the program in May of 2011. This meant that I attended 5 semesters, but I still felt like it was a whirlwind experience.
This time in my life was somewhat tumultuous for several reasons. First, my Papa passed away suddenly in February of 2007. We were extremely grief stricken as a family, but had to keep moving forward for my Nana. In September of 2007, the job that I had worked my way up to over the course of 6 1/2 years was coming to a close as the bank I worked for was being bought out by another local bank. This meant that in February of 2008 I would be out of work. It was difficult, but not impossible as the writer had a full time teaching job and we felt like we were okay. I was given a severance package and immediate unemployment and worked until the very last moment – making me the proverbial “last one out turn off the lights” person at GBSB. It was sad, but freeing. Knowing that I would be losing my job in February, I decided that instead of continuing on in the banking world, I would go to the Small Business Association and get a loan to open a coffeehouse. I started working on that dream in October of 2007 and continued into a small business education program, run by the city of Buffalo, in January of 2008. During the planning stage, I was very optimistic. I had worked in coffeehouses on and off in my 20s and felt like this would be an excellent way to move into my 30s.
Then, in April of 2008, my Nana passed away. This was very difficult for me. We had only just lost Papa a year earlier and now we were losing Nana too. I was closer to nobody else in the world and they practically raised me alongside my own parents. The loss was great. My mom is a determined woman and although she was grieving for both of her parents, she got us through the funeral and moved us toward getting the house in order. We worked, through the summer of 2008, clearing and cleaning out the house and at the end of the summer it was sold. The Autumn holidays were the most difficult that year because Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas were my Nana’s favourites. Any day that brought her family together to visit, eat, talk, and sometimes yell and scream (as any self respecting Italian or Southern family does) was a good day for her, and the holidays were the absolute best. It felt like time stopped on April 4th and didn’t restart until after the New Year. Although it has been over 8 years, it is still difficult to think of them being gone. There are still mornings that I wake up and forget for a moment that they are not available to talk to. I will think of something to tell one or both of them and then remember they are not there anymore. Time numbs the pain, but it never fully goes away.
During the Autumn of 2008, I decided that I was going to stop pursuing the coffeehouse idea and started looking at schools. I navigated to the website for my Alma mater (Buffalo State College) and searched through several programs until I stumbled on Sociology. Since I had already obtained a degree from the school, the admission process was quick. I was admitted for Spring 2009 and thus began my journey into Sociology. So now, here I sit, 5 years beyond graduation, a Masters degree in Library Science also in my bag of tricks (obtained in a slightly longer time frame, but still useful) and a job at a software company.
So, what’s next? Where can I go with a BA in Music, a BA in Sociology, and an MS in Library and Information Science? Academia? That’s the goal, but we will see what happens. The writer completed a PhD in the last 5 years as well, and he is currently searching for a full time professor gig. We are hopeful that our degrees will allow us to move somewhere new and start a new chapter in our lives. My dream, now (and it could change at any moment) is to start off as a reference and/or research librarian in a University and then move into a PhD program. This is all contingent on our physical location in the next 5 years.
At the end of it all, I really just want to write. Helping others understand Sociological concepts and constructs would also be awesome, but if I have to do that through a library rather than a classroom I will be content. As long as my future profession involves reading and writing I will be happy. Oh – and the ability to work from the neighbourhood coffeehouse sometimes would definitely be a bonus. Writing and research – mobile employment – that is the way to go.
Chantale (aka hippiegrrl)
What dreams did you have, as a teen or 20-something, that you still need to achieve? Tell me about it in the comments! And please share with your friends. We love opinions and constructive criticism!
How to Craft a New Career from aarp.org
Six Steps To Reinvent Your Career After A Major Life Change from forbes.com
Best Graduate Schools 2017 from US News & World Report