Tag Archives: education

Encourage Education and the Pursuit of Passion

graduation cap

When I read an article on Yahoo! Education, Don’t Let Your Kids Study These Majors, I tweeted the link and titled it, “Another Way to Discourage Kids from Following Their Passion.” My comment sparked a lively debate, which I decided to follow up with a letter to all our children, although I addressed it to my daughter.

Dear Daughter,

Soon you’ll be applying to colleges and selecting your major. You’ll receive a lot of advice from high school counselors, college advisers, teachers, friends, and experts. You may be so overwhelmed with what to do and what not to do that you may feel paralyzed to make any decision.

You’re not alone. A lot of teens feel the same way.

When I was getting ready to apply for college, everyone advised me to major in engineering or computers. At the time, these fields commanded top dollar for highly-educated, skilled workers. Although I enjoyed math, I had no desire to learn engineering or computers. I didn’t want to spend my life thinking in a linear way. I wanted to explore the outer edges of philosophy and psychology through literature and writing. But everyone kept saying we needed women engineers and computer scientists. I tried to find the enthusiasm for these subjects, but I couldn’t.

Luckily, I had enough courage to pursue my passion to write. I studied journalism, technical writing, and creative writing. I learned how to write clearly and concisely on demand under an unyielding deadline without sacrificing creativity.

People ridiculed me. My classmates said I would be unemployable. My college adviser suggested I apply to law school and become an attorney. My parents weren’t paying for my education, so they felt they had no voice. Only your dad was supportive. He said the goal of attending college is not to land a job. It is to become educated. By being educated, you show an employer you have ambition. You can set a goal and achieve it. You know how to learn. You are resourceful. You can plan for the future.

Your dad was right, of course.

By the time I graduated from college, the job market had changed. Engineering and computer science were no longer the most desirable fields of study. Business had taken precedence. A few of my college classmates applied to graduate school, hoping to chase the next wave of the job market. Others took jobs that were not related to their majors. Of course, a few remained unemployed.

Not me.

I found work immediately. My writing skills allowed me to enter the field of real estate as a marketing assistant, writing advertisements for listings and open houses. From there, I entered the world of finance and banking, both without a business degree. At the same time, I continued to follow my passion, publishing hundreds of articles and short stories and four books. I also painted dozens of landscapes that grace the walls of other people’s homes and offices. Not to mention my greeting cards.

So don’t worry about college. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you study. It matters that you learn and grow. And follow your dreams.

Early Intervention

The wind blows through the windows
of the bus ruffling a student’s long hair.

She says, “I know how messed up
my hair is by looking at your face.”

What they don’t know is how long
it took for her to read facial expressions.

The wind brushes a tangle of curls
over the student’s eyes.

She says, “I know you’re laughing
because you think it’s funny.”

What they don’t know is how long
it took for her to learn what a joke is.

The wind stops when the bus stops.
She says, “I wish I had a comb.”

The mom beside me says, “You won’t believe
she was the quietest on the field trip.”

What I don’t say is, “You won’t believe
she’s been diagnosed with Asperger’s.”

With 1 in 88 children now diagnosed with either Asperger’s syndrome or Autism, the need for knowledge, research, and early intervention has never been more urgent.

For more information on Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism and what you can do to help, please visit Autism Speaks.

Book Trailer for The Human Act and Other Stories

Below is the book trailer for my upcoming short story collection from All Things That Matter Press:

Official Book Trailer for The Human Act and Other Stories

Visit my Fan Page for daily updates at Angela Lam Turpin on Facebook.

For more information on the background of the collection, visit my blog on Goodreads.com.