As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree in mathematics and was answering for the hundredth time what I was going to do with it (No, not teach secondary school!), I announced to my family that I was going to become a professor. I don’t recall my father laughing, but he didn’t believe me. Actually, I believe what he said was, “You can’t do that.”
“You don’t think I’m smart enough?”
“No. You’re intelligent enough, you just don’t finish anything. I don’t think you can do it.”
That really hurt. And when life took me through many twists and turns, including a long route to my Master’s in a completely different field, I often wondered if my father was right. Not about me not finishing anything, but about me not ever becoming a professor.
I loved my master’s program. I loved breathing in the atmosphere of the love of games: art, narrative, programming, designing. It was wonderful and I knew this is where I wanted to teach. I put that dream in the back of my mind though, because I needed to complete my master’s and then a Ph.D. and then probably teach elsewhere before making it back to this place. The idea of a Ph.D. had always scared me before, I hadn’t even ever applied to a program, but near the end of master’s experience I knew I had to at least try.
It wasn’t easy, and it was a lot of effort, but I got into a Ph.D. program and am currently (as of this writing) in my second year. Just 20 more years before I’ll be done, at least that’s what it feels like sometimes.
Then something exciting happened! An opportunity out of nowhere: the EAE program had an immediate need for new special topic courses for their undergraduates as an elective course option. They had too many students and not enough classes, and so anyone with at least a Bachelor’s could pitch a course to be taught.
The idea of putting myself out there scared me, but I knew I had to at least try for this opportunity too. This is what I told my research lab mates:
Me: “My first proposal for teaching next Spring got DENIED at super speed (for being too technical which didn’t meet their needs). So Rogelio helped me design a course which got ACCEPTED at super slow speed (I didn’t hear back until NINE days after I was told I would. That’s a long time to hold your breath.). So just call me Professor Blackburn (Not really! lol). I’m teaching Psychology of Games this Spring! YEAH!”
My Advisor: For a moment, I thought Professor Blackburn would teach Defense Against the Dark Arts :thinking_face: Which may as well be Psychology :slightly_smiling_face: CONGRATS
Me: Well, they wouldn’t let me use that title, IP reasons…
I’m like legit faculty!
The point is, besides to share my good news of course, is that as long as you keep moving in the direction towards your dream you must eventually get there, by universal law! The law of nurture tells us that what we nurture grows. And as long as I kept plugging away at that dream, it was growing! Until… I became legit university instructor.
What is your dare big dream?
It matters. It’s important. God doesn’t put dreams in our hearts willy nilly. They are there for a reason, to fulfill our and His purposes.
Don’t worry about all the how to’s and how long’s, just move your feet forward in the direction of what you want, and then keep going. God will bless you.