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A Degree I Do Not Use

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Me, 1981

Me, 1981

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications-Mass Media, specifically Radio & TV Broadcasting.

I have never used it.

People ask me why. I have always dodged the question.

Why would you ask someone that? It is just pointing out that I failed. How, I’m not sure. But that question still makes me feel like a failure. It is like a big gray cloak being pulled over me.  It suffocates me.

My mom probably hates me for not using my degree. But she was the one who made me go to stupid college in the first place. If I was going to be there for 4 years, I wanted to do something fun.

I was a fan of many local DJ’s at the time. While I was still in high school, I even got to be on the most popular local radio station for an hour and pick all the songs. I thought the Universe was telling me this was my thing.

Me on "Look Ma, I'm on KISS-FM", 92.5 WVKS Toledo, 1994

Me on “Look Ma, I’m on KISS-FM”, 92.5 WVKS Toledo, 1994

None of my college projects turned out perfect. I got A’s on most of them. But there was always something about the audio quality or length or lighting or editing that bothered me about every project I did. I wasn’t used to not being perfect in school.

Four years later, after spending time on half-broken, analog equipment, I didn’t feel like my college had actually prepared me for the real world. I didn’t feel confident I could walk into a radio station and operate their board. And the college gave me no assistance in finding a job.

Laryngitis. The only time in my life I have ever lost my voice was the last month before I graduated from college. Right when I wanted to make demo tapes to send out to radio stations. While my voice came back, it wasn’t the same for about 2 months. I had a limited window of time that I had access to the recording equipment, so I made tapes anyway. They didn’t sound like me. I did send them out to stations. None of them called.

But I took the laryngitis as a sign that I wasn’t meant to go into radio. The Universe is a fickle mistress. It broke my heart a little. But I was also scared to death to go out into the big bad world and be that brave. I think my discouragement was equal parts laryngitis and fear. I decided maybe I was just a better radio spectator than player.

I got a boring office job in a giant corporate building filled with cubicles I hated. My mom had always worked in offices.  It felt like a safe bet, if not one I was thrilled about.  I hated the long commute. I hated the work. But I liked the people. I made some great friends just at the time in my life when I needed them. We had lots of important experiences that shaped me into the dorky weirdo that I am today. I wouldn’t trade the chance to meet those folks for anything. (Love to Patti, Carrie, Jeff, Linda, Ann, Megan, Paul, and the rest…)

I recently applied a few times to the local radio station. I got an interview, but with no current experience, they didn’t hire me. Other stations are an even further commute for me. Or I would have to move. I don’t want to move. For many reasons.

You might look at this post as a list of excuses. I suppose it is. But I don’t have a better explanation.

The Universe told me it wasn’t my thing. I believed it.

Maybe the Universe was trying to tell me that my words were important, just not the ones that come from my mouth. Maybe the ones that come from my fingers are more important?

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