Image: Needle in a hay stack
People sometimes say, “Finding that is like finding a needle in a haystack!” They mean that it is nearly impossible. A needle looks a lot like a piece of hay. And in a haystack there are a lot of pieces of hay. They are implying, “Don’t bother trying.”
On the other hand, some things are worth looking hard for—what to study, what to do during your working days and your life after that, who you want to grow old with, the Divine. Don’t get discouraged. Keep looking. It's worth it.
     -The Godmother
Finding your career path in Cambodia: The students I teach at the university start their first year having declared their major. That's the way it works. No "open majors", no changing majors once you've started. "How do they choose what to study when they're first generation university students?" Good question. A few are lucky enough to have been exposed to career guidance counseling but most rely on their parents, largely farmers. They hear something like this from their folks: "Major in something you studied in school and then become a teacher of that." It's not bad advice. Teachers are on the government payroll; it's a safe job. If my students had the luxury to search their hearts, to follow their dreams, they wouldn't know where to begin. They don't know there are needles to be found in haystacks. In fact, they don't even know they're sitting on a pile of hay. They're mostly just enjoying the view.
Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
  • #017: Little children
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these are; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
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