Because of where I am in my undergraduate degree program, I've been doing some thinking about my future in school. I'm getting close to being required to declare a major (I have to do this at the end of next semester) and this has raised a number of questions.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that I want a career as a professional chef. I have no illusions that just because I finish my schooling I'll be able to land a dream job doing the style of cooking I love in the perfect restaurant setting. I know I'll have jobs doing things I may not particularly enjoy as I start to accumulate experience in the field. I'm totally fine with that.
But to be honest, right now it feels like this whole process is going to take decades and decades and I'm feeling really, really impatient.
I decided years ago, while in high school, that I wanted to go to college. At the time I hadn't decided on anything specific I wanted to study, but I definitely wanted a college degree. There was something important about having that solid degree and knowing nobody could take that away from me.
Don't get me wrong. I've enjoyed most of the courses I've taken so far. I'm doing well academically, even though I have to work really hard for the grades I've gotten. I'm actually proud of myself for taking school seriously and somehow I've managed to make some friends.
But the problem is this. I'm feeling really, really impatient knowing I have to wait several more years before I begin training for my career. Sure, I'm getting experience right now as a waiter in a restaurant and I've been able to get a very, very small amount of "hands on" experience working with the chef there.
So if I stick with college, what should I be doing? Spend all my spare time reading cookbooks? Turn our kitchen at home into some kind of cooking laboratory and use Matty and our friends as guinea pigs? Leave my current job and try to find another one where I can work as a line cook in a roadside diner?
The other option is to drop out of college as soon as I get accepted in a culinary school. Or drop out now before I spend any more money trying to get a degree in history or literature or sociology or analytical chemistry! Something I would have to really s-t-r-e-t-c-h to make it applicable to what I really want to do.
I'm not making any decisions rashly and I'm definitely going to finish this semester no matter what. There's too much at stake here for me to screw things up.
But damn. I really am feeling so impatient! Right now it feels like I'm just treading water so I can some day start doing what I really want to do. But what if I regret not getting a college degree?
I want my decision to be the right one and I really want to enjoy the process. So where am I right now? I don't know the right decision and I'm not enjoying the process.
When all is said and done, I want a life I can be proud of. Right now it feels like a goal that's never going to happen. Maybe I'm being too impatient. Maybe I'm being unrealistic. But why do some things in life seem to take so long and are so hard and complicated?
As soon as I get home tonight I need to begin reading for a psychology class I'm taking called Perception and Behavior. To be honest, I'd much rather be reading for a class called, Fundamentals of Classical Cuisine.
I'm sure I'll figure all this out. If I didn't believe that, I'd probably sink into a really dark depression. But damn, it's hard to stay in a good place about all this.
Thanks for reading. Sincerely, Chef Brad