I am among those who have been asked by Mathews Elementary School counselor Iris Stevens to participate in the school’s upcoming Career Day. Without hesitation, I gladly accepted and I’m looking forward to taking part in the day.
I’m not sure who else was asked, so I’m not sure what other professions will be represented. I could be crossing the paths of a butcher, baker and candlestick maker, or even doctor, lawyer and Indian chief. That’s some pretty heady company for a journalist.
I’m going to talk to two fourth-grade classes for about 20 minutes each. I’m not sure how much wisdom I will be able to share with them to influence their career choices. I do remember sitting and listening to parents of fellow classmates and thinking how cool it would be to become a fireman or a policeman.
To prepare for Career Day, participants are asked to fill out a short bio and answer some questions to help their student escorts introduce the guests to the classes. Among the questions are: Why did you chose your profession and what do you love most about it? If someone wants to do what you do, what do they need to do now as a student to help prepare for this job? When you were in school what was your behavior like?
Those are some pretty straight-forward questions to answer, but questions I hadn’t given a thought about for years. When I started to think about my answers, I wanted them to be as honest as possible.
I really wanted to be an architect until I got to high school. I loved drawing buildings and floor plans and I designed stadiums. They looked good on paper, but when the principles of mathematics and science had to be applied I was lost. When teachers started mixing numbers and letters in formulas and equations, it wasn’t long before summer school was on my horizon.
So I looked elsewhere to find a way to make money when I grew up. My English, poetry and writing classes grades were just a little better than my math grades.
When I sat down and thought about it, I figured I could couple my love for sports and writing to my advantage. My house was a three-newspaper home when I was growing up, so I read and read and read, always starting with the sports section.
I’ve been fortunate to work in this business for almost 30 years. I would never have imagined I’d be sitting at a desk at the Index-Journal writing features as I sat at my desk in Carteret High School filling up pages in my notebook with doodles. Now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
I love telling people’s stories. I think it’s great to be able to touch people. I love to make people think. I love sharing different parts of my life with people through this column. A wise, seasoned journalist once told me to share, but to not make it all about yourself. Instead, tell your story in a way everyone can relate to it. I try to do that. I hope I’m successful more than not.
To become good at anything you do, it pays to be well prepared. I think journalists should read a lot, ask tons of questions, allow the people they are interviewing to talk, and listen carefully. Most of all, have fun and enjoy what you’re doing.
In the past, other staff members have been asked to participate in Career Days at schools throughout the Lakelands. I’d be surprised if the wisdom they imparted was much different than some of the things I mentioned.
I’m not sure how many fourth graders I’ll meet who want to be journalists, but I wouldn’t be surprised to meet a youngster who wants to be a chemist or one who wants to be a mechanic only to end up a journalist.

Sitarz can be reached at 864-943-2529 or via email at jsitarz@indexjournal.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.