One of the most common questions I get about my major is, "What do you plan to do with that, raise a family?" Yes, I'm learning a lot of great things that will help me be a better wife and future mother, but that's not really the reason I decided to go into Family Studies. To tell you the truth, I stumbled upon the degree by accident. I had no idea what I wanted to do in school and was looking for some electives that were interesting and might lead me to a degree I'd love. Child & Family Studies classes took up the majority of my list when I was done with my search, so I decided to see what it was about.
My first choice for a career would be Music Therapy. I'd been thinking about it for a while and while I was exploring the Family Studies field, I found out that it could be an option with that degree if I went on to grad school afterward. If you were on Twitter Monday night, you might have seen my tweets about my wish to work with Alzheimer's patients. A news report on the documentary 'Alive Inside' (being shown at Sundance) was the reason for all of my excitement and here's why:
My grandpa, the man in those pictures, is the reason I want to work with Alzheimer's patients. He was one of my best friends growing up and I spent a lot of time with him and my grandma. When I was in high school, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and it wasn't a fun ride. It's an evil disease and I hated to see how it affected him. Because my family is extremely musical, my mom let us take our instruments to the Alzheimer's facility he was at every once and a while and we would perform for my grandpa and any other residents who were wandering by. Whenever we played/sang, even the most "zombie-like" (that's the only way I can think of to refer to them, I hope it's not offensive) people would light up and start to sing along or conduct the music. I saw firsthand the effect that music can have on the mind, and I would LOVE to make a difference in people's using my talents and love for music!
Unfortunately there is only one program for music therapy here in Utah and it's not a Master's program. I guess I could go back for a second bachelor's degree at that university and it is definitely something I'd love to do. But I know it would be a challenging and emotionally draining career so maybe volunteering with a program every once and a while would be a better option for me.
My minor is Child Development and for the past two years I've thought it would be fun to be a Preschool Teacher. I took a Human Development class (that helped determine my minor) and one of my assignments was to observe a preschool. I loved it! Two to five years old is my favorite age and I would love to teach those kids a couple of days a week. Joe and I teach the four and five year olds in church every Sunday and they are a lot of fun! Running a preschool out of my house has been my career goal up until this semester, and while it still sounds fun, I found something that I'm even more passionate about!
I am currently exploring the field of Marriage Education. If you pay attention to this blog at all, you know that I have a passion for being a wife and all things marriage. Since finding my niche here in blogland, I've thought it would be something fun to go into, but I didn't want to do Marriage Therapy or Counseling. Over the past couple of weeks my career plans have shifted and my new dream is to turn this blog into something more. I would love to teach fun, helpful classes to couples in every stage of their relationship, and it even might be fun to teach some dating classes for single people. This is still a new thought in my brain though, so I haven't figured out all of the details or explored the field completely.
I'm not an expert at marriage by any means, and I know some people have a hard time when "newlyweds" or I guess people at any stage of their marriage giving advice, etc. My professor this semester said something on our first day of class that really stuck with me. You don't have to be married to be a good marriage therapist/educator/counselor. She says that some of the best ones she knows have never been married or are divorced. When I graduate with my degree in a couple of years, I will also be a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). Family Life Education "focuses on healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective and provides a primarily preventive approach." (Source)
I have a passion for marriage and doing everything I can to make mine great! I love to share my goals and the things I'm learning about myself and being married here on the blog and I think it would be awesome if I could incorporate that into my future career!
There are so many more things that a Family Studies major can do, I think you'd be surprised at how versatile it is! In my seminar class there are people who want to work with adolescents in after school programs, teach preschool from their home or to children who come from underprivileged families and don't know basic skills like brushing their teeth, a couple students want to go on to grad school and be family/marriage therapists of some kind, etc. You can read a little bit more about what Family Studies is here.
What is your dream career/degree?