Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Am Caroline

Have you ever seen the movie The Ref? It's what I consider a good bad movie, if you know what I mean. The story goes that Lloyd and Caroline, a couple on the brink of divorce, are held hostage by a thief trying to evade the police on Christmas Eve. The hostage situation is disguised in an elaborate charade that simultaneously gets Lloyd and Caroline to work through their issues and of course results in much hilarity. 

At one point in the film, Lloyd criticizes Caroline for not following through on anything. She signs up for classes she doesn't finish; she gets a wild hair to prepare Christmas dinner according to some bizarre Scandinavian myth. Apparently, she's aimless and never satisfied with her life.

Sound like someone you know? That's it; I'm Caroline. See, I look at her character, and I'm like, Doesn't everyone make their Christmas dinner guests wear wreaths and lighted candles on their heads?

Off and on since the divorce, I've considered going back to school. I always end up talking myself out of a full-on degree program because I feel like an M.A. should be enough, damn it. And yes, I can make things work, but everything has felt so forced, and I don't think my life is sustainable.

Maybe I'm just being a little too Caroline here, but I'm considering enrolling in a certificate program at my community college. At the beginning of the year, I decided to invest in myself a little, and I think that's a good decision. Obviously, a certificate wouldn't be as intensive or resume-boosting as another bachelor's or master's, but it would give me a place to start, and regardless of any resulting job, I kind of just want to learn more stuff. Also, going to school where I work would keep things simple. These certificates would likely take me about three semesters to complete.

I'm considering these certificates:

Human Services - It appears these classes offer an overview of and a foundation for social work. Classes range from child development to alcohol and drug studies to healthy living and aging. That last part is something that I think I could get into, especially around this area with a large 55+ population. Combined with the online grant-writing courses I'm taking, this could be a good recipe for success in a nonprofit organization.

Ornamental Horticulture - Let me preface this by saying that since I was a teenager working for the first time, I've always had a fantasy of working in a nursery, outside, getting dirty all day long (if I could wear overalls to work every day, I could die happy). These classes focus a lot on native plants, water conservation, and organic gardening while providing a foundation in botany as it pertains to gardening and landscaping. 

Fitness Instructor Training - This seems logical, but although the certificate in the end would be helpful, I don't think I'd enjoy the coursework that much. I've certainly considered making fitness my career, and I like the idea of helping people develop healthy respect for their bodies, but I suspect I enjoy fitness more as a side job or as recreation. 

There it is. What do you think? Is this just Caroline talking or do you think one of these plans could actually work? Do you know anyone in these fields? 


Laura said...

My opinion isn't going to be much help, but honestly, these days I'm starting to think a certificate can be more helpful to a resume than a master's degree. Of course it depends on the job/field, but in some cases, it seems like some jobs value skills/certification over education/a degree.

For what it's worth, I think the human services certificate sounds really interesting, especially the focus on healthy living and aging. You could do so much with that. I also think the ornamental horticulture sounds like fun.

Laura said...

Oops, I also meant to say that I love your new lemon background!

Domestic Kate said...

Thanks, Laura! I think some people just read my posts in their Google Reader (but not for long!) so they don't see my background. I needed something springy.

And I agree with you that certifications and experience are the way to go for some jobs. I think sometimes employers like to see that you're patient and dedicated enough to complete a college degree, but the subject matter isn't all that important because you still have to be trained on the job.

I think if I'm looking for more job options, human services is the way to go. I am thinking, however, that since my teaching load is light this summer, I might see if I can work or volunteer in one of these fields to get a better sense of how much I like it.

rockygrace said...

Love the lemons!

Fitness Instructor is something you've already done, so you wouldn't be starting from scratch, but it also might not be feasible to count on for a career - I'm thinking injuries and aging here.

Horticulture sounds like a blast, but you might end up making close to minimum.

Human Services sounds like your best bet, money-wise.

Choose a straw!

p.s. I envy you. I would LOVE to go back to school.

rockygrace said...

p.p.s. - My nine-month secretarial certificate was directly responsible for my twenty-five year career, so there ya go. Ha.

Domestic Kate said...

Rocky, I think the exact same thing about aging and injuries. I think it would be cool to be one of these "yogis over 90" I see in news articles, but realistically, I would probably have to take my career in a different direction in a couple decades if not sooner. Plus, depending on what I'd actually be doing, the pay isn't that great or that consistent.

Why not go back to school then?