When we work with others to help them find their path or to just discover who they are, there are certain things that you cannot pass on – no matter how hard you try.  I know this, most people who have done any type of teaching know this.  It is not a phenomenon exclusive to being pagan, being in an academic setting, or even from being older than those individuals you work with most.  No, it is a matter of people needing to learn things on their own. There comes a time when all the passing on of one’s knowledge is nothing more than chatter.  I’ve experienced this with every group of students that I have worked with.  It isn’t insulting, it just is.  But this last week I had a moment to chuckle and then say “see, you didn’t believe me before, but do you now understand what I was trying to say?” 

As she sat in my office I had a student tell me of her heart stopping moment.  She had an interview for an internship this summer.  The interview went well, but after it had “officially” ended the interviewer inquired if they could ask a personal question.  If it had been me I would have said yes but that I might decline to answer if it really had no bearing on the position.  But, as is the often times eagerness of youth, she said yes with no conditions.  Then came the question: “On your resume I see you have put down Student…”  She knew what was coming even though she didn’t hear the rest of the words.  The interviewer had seen on her resume that she was a member of the Student Pagan Association and was wondering what that was.  Heart in throat, stomach churning, she regained command of the English language and answered the question.  She told me the exchange that they had and in the end she felt that she had handled it well and that there was no harm done.  No harm done, interesting that this was the assessment.

I have always told the students that the world we live in as a whole is very different from the world of a college/university campus.  They are insulated and protected on campus.  At least much more so than in society in general.  We have all had those moments when the questions come and then the looks.  Sometimes there is acceptance and sometimes there is not, but the real issue is choosing when and where we allow others to see that aspect of our life.  Is it appropriate to put it on a resume?  Depends on where you are applying for a job.  For the most part I don’t feel that it is appropriate on a resume.  Then again I would say the same about any religious affiliation regardless of the religion.  Leave it at home, religion has no place in the office. 

I recently read an article about when to announce you are pagan and when not to.  The article was correct that we continually do this all our lives and each time we have to make a determination on what we hope the consequences will be and then chose whether we can live with those consequences or not.  Even for us older, slightly middle-aged pagans the answer is “not this time” the price isn’t worth paying.  Some day we will not have to worry about it, but for now we still do.  Interestingly enough every one of the Chaplains at the University feels the same way.  Each has been ridiculed for being “religious” by non-religious individuals.  Unfortunately we have the added burden of being ridiculed, mocked, feared, attacked, and persecuted by the other religious groups.  Where I am at I am fortunate; I don’t have to deal with these issues at the Chapel.  I deal with enough outside of the University so in a way it is also haven for me. 

So what was the outcome of the interview?  I don’t know; she doesn’t know.  What I do know was that she was taking that off of her resume when she got home so that type of moment never happens again.

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