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EU > Slovenia > Ljubljana

Dreams and ambitions

Ljubljana, SI (View on map)

Dreams and reality are two separate things, and directing one towards the other is yet another discipline. Then, there`s the difference between childhood dreams, grown-up dreams and illusions. Today, I am asking some people in the centre of Ljubljana: what did you want to become when you were a child, what have you become and what do you hope to become in the future?

Peter (28):

..likes peering across borders
Damien (31) dreamt of becoming a teacher and effectively became one. `I am teaching geography, history, art and sociology to children aged 12 to 15, during the final years of primary school. Next year, I will also start teaching German. In the meanwhile, I am preparing to change my career path a little bit. I will soon start taking courses to become an attorney in labour law. It would be nice if I could get them finished in five years and then start doing something completely different`, Damien says. Petra (25) is more likely to stick to the craft she has always wanted to perform. `I wanted to become a journalist and I am one now. I present lots of different types of programs on national radio, and I am enjoying its lots.

Missing art
Anja (24) wanted to become an actress since the age of 5 until the end of secondary school. `I gave up at the moment I could have done the entrance exams. I was just too nervous to sign up for them. My mum tried to encouraged me, but even she wasn`t able to convince me to do it. Imagine: only 8 out of about 100 applicants get in! Apart from that, my grades in secondary school were good enough to qualify for other studies, so I ended up doing international relations. As a part of those studies, I spent half a year in Norway on an Erasmus-exchange.`

Since my graduation, I have been working at the university, setting up new courses. We are now working on the creation of a new PhD program in `Rare Incidents with Strong Social Consequences`. I am also organising and presenting events, which partly makes up for the lack of art I experience in the rest of my work. I still long for the theatre stage, and I wish I had more time to write stuff as well. On the other hand, I would also be interested in doing a traineeship at the European Commission for 5 months. Or give the art academy another try. Oh well, we will see what I end up doing. I`m only 24 years old so I can still decide to change things.`

Changing plans
Marian (30) originally wanted to become a train driver, and still likes that idea. `But even if I wanted, I couldn`t, because I am wearing glasses to they won`t accept me anyway. I changed my objectives to become an actor.` Unlike Anja, Marian did get into the theatre academy: `I didn`t manage the first time, but succeeded the second time. I now work as a professional actor. I imitate famous people during the popular Hribar show. I preferred to copy the previous president, but he died so imitating him has become a bit difficult.`

Karmen (28) became a teacher, in spite of her childhood dream to become a hairdresser: `I am happy to be a teacher now. It`s a very inspiring job, and it`s rewarding to be exposed to children`s enthusiasm. Much better than an office job, except when the kids are being annoying and disobedient. This job will probably remain suitable for me for at least the next 5 to 10 years.`

Europe and unclear career objectives have dominated the last 7 years of Peter (28, photo)`s life. `As my parents told me, I have been interested in Europe ever since I was four years old. That`s when I started telling them that it would be a good idea for Slovenians to be German because it would become an important language for the future. I now speak seven languages fluently and have contacts all over Europe, just by participating in all sorts of seminars, events and organisations. I only recently finished my bachelor studies in International Relations. Before that, I was traveling around Europe all the time, but officially unemployed, single and without a diplome. That`s not really an advisable way of organising your life in Slovenia. Slovenians tend to be focused creating certainty: finding a job, buying a house, saving money for retirement.. I don`t like it that way. I prefer not to know where I end up. They say that the most interesting people don`t even know what they want to do by the time they turn 40. I still have some time left, if you look at it from that point.`

In spite of following an unconventional career path so far, Peter will soon move to Brussels to take the position of Secretary General of the Young European Federalist, an organisation that promotes peace and democracy as basic values for a federal Europe. `Strangely enough, that will be my first ever job with a monthly salary and a fixed place to live. Until now, I have usually had to ask people if I could stay over, moving from one place to the other to participate in whatever event. In order to make money, I just did some translation work on the side, organised seminars or guided debates. All very interesting, but nothing fixed and nothing stable`, Peter says, adding that only a select group of friends have been able to stay in touch with him since he started materializing his European ambitions.

Improving things has been a recurring motive throughout Peter`s life so far. `I was brought up with the values of the Catholic Church and attended mass every week. By the time I turned 10, I was fed up with the way it was organised. I didn`t question faith at that point, but I was just unsatisfied about the way the service was set up. I was thinking of becoming a private priest and look for sponsors to get it done. At a later age, I wanted to become a pastry baker, but I thought I had other talents that required attention. So, international relations it would be and I soon found out that it was not very exciting either. Diplomacy is not something you learn in school and being educated to become a generalist is quite a risky choice. People can always appeal to a specialist if they want to get something done. Studying was not much more than an extension of secondary school. And also if I see how many European institutions work, I see so much time and effort wasted. I hope I`ll once be able to do something about that. Moving to Brussels for the next two years may be a first step in the right direction.`

Sara (26) is currently in her last year of studies. Like Peter and Anja, she is interested in international relations, which seems to be quite a popular curriculum in Slovenia. When I ask her what she wanted to become when she was a child, she asks if she can call her mum to check. Then she remembers that she wanted to become a painter. `When I was in the final years of secondary school, I went to art classes after class. But I always quickly got fed up with things. Before art, it was tennis. Now, it`s international relations. On the side, I am working in a government institution for public health as a general assistant to pretty much everybody. It`s easy for students to find this kind of jobs, and cheap for employers. And a good reason to delay graduation. I am now working on my thesis about Euro-skepticism in Latvia, Italy, Ireland and Poland. I have no clue about what I want to do afterwards.`

Sarah thinks she would have liked to study Human Rights, but decided not to because the program is not available in Slovenia. `Going abroad requires a lot of money and also courage and I`m afraid I lack and lacked both. My parents would have `disrecommended` me to do something like that, because how much money can you earn in Human Resources. My parents don`t like that I am such a dreamer. My father has an IT-company and he would like me to start working as soon as possible. My mother is a bit less directive. She is ready to wait and see what I will end up doing.`

Mateus (24) wanted to be a pilot but soon gave up after shifting his focus on the printing industry: `I studied Graphic Techniques, which I am currently finishing. At the same time, I am working in my father`s publishing house. I take care of technical stuff. My brother completed the same studies and is working in DTP, preparing files to make them ready for printing. My brother and I will take over after my father retires. Online publishing may become a threat in the future, but for now there is plenty of work. The amount of releases has kept increasing ever since my father founded the company in 1993. Ever since I had my first glance into the machine room of the company, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. No more need to become a pilot.`

Dean (29) dreamed of all the typical boy professions. Police officer, pilot.. He currently works as a system administrator. `I wish I had studied architecture and if I could, I would work in real estate, buying and selling. But you need capital for that and I don`t have that. The intermediate dream is to become self-employed and work less for more money.`

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