Pursuing a career in nonprofit can have its adversities and obstacles, but it can also have unmeasurable rewards.
My discipline is my vocation. When asked what I teach, I always have to pause for so few people understand what is meant by the word "classics" these days, and when I respond that I teach Latin, Greek and ancient history, I usually get blank looks and stony silence. But classicists are made of stern stuff: we have endured since the Renaissance because if there's one thing that our discipline has taught us, it is that nearly every field of endeavor in western culture today owes a great debt to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The blank looks and stony silence I find paradoxically encouraging: there is still work to be done and an audience to engage. And, for me personally, there is no thrill so intoxicating as seeing students' eyes light up when they "get it"--adrenaline junkies have nothing on classicists in full fervor of proselytizing.
As the undergraduate coordinator, academic advisor and online course developer for the Department of Classics at UGA, I get a thrill from seeing my students pursuing their dreams, especially that magic moment when they finally find an answer which they had long been seeking. If I somehow am a meaningful part of their journey, then I have performed my duty well.
After graduating with my B.A., I went to law school, but I did not find modern law nearly as interesting as Roman law, so I got my master's degree in Classical Languages at Tulane and eventually my Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. Along the way, I developed passions for Alexander the Great, Greek and Roman law and, truth be told, all things Greek and Roman. I know that life is short and I cannot hope to know everything, but I enjoy giving it my best shot. I think all academics are professional students at heart.