Looking Back… Finding a Career

lin-floydIssue 6.10

During my years of growing up, I would find that my career choices would evolve as new interests developed.  As a young child, I wanted to be a movie star or a telephone operator, but in high school that all changed.  I loved math and science classes and excelled in my studies, so it was only natural when the call came for more American engineers after the Russian spudnik satellite developments that started the space race and cold war, that I would consider going to college to study engineering.  I don’t think I even knew what an engineer was, but my high school teachers encouraged me to become one.

Unfortunately, my junior college teachers in 1958 weren’t as supportive as my high school instructors had been.  I still remember a Physics 101 professor, on the first day of my college class, writing on the blackboards around the room the simple equation E=MC2.  Then he proceeded to say: “Even the girls in this class can understand this simple equation.”  Whether he was trying to be funny or not I never determined, but it made the three girls in my class of 35 physics students feel uneasy.  Today it would be called sexual harassment.  As I pursued my new engineering major, I found that college classes in math and science were much more competitive than in high school.  I was discouraged to only earn a B or C grade after earning almost straight A’s in high school.  After one semester in college, I was ready to look for a different career.

Taking ballet lessons had been a hobby I started in high school and loved.  During junior college, I performed in many musical productions as well as in community theatre.  Then came the opportunity to dance professionally and join a dancer’s union as a member of the Los Angeles City Ballet Company.  Wow, this was almost like being a movie star, a career choice of mine earlier.  The only problem was the entertainment world had different morals that I had.  Being a very naïve young girl when I left high school, and feeling uncomfortable with theatre people, I left my ballet company.  Determined to continue my college studies as a dance major at BYU, and become a professional dance teacher, I thought maybe I’d get married along the way.

Lin Floyd is the author of LOOKING BACK…at the “Good Old Days,” a collection of her weekly articles about growing up in the old West.


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