Eliana Zacarias: No Direct Path

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You recently received your M.A. in Museum Studies in May 2018 from San Francisco State University. What have you been doing since graduating from PUC?

Since leaving PUC, I’ve been volunteering, interning, and now I am working as the Youth Programs Developer at the San Jose Children’s Museum. During my time in the M.A. program, I was president of my program’s professional student association and helped in planning, curating, building, and opening SFSU’s new museum space, The Global Museum, on campus. 

How did your experience at PUC help you in your current career path?

My current position deals mostly with educational programs that the museum uses to engage its surrounding community. I always knew I wanted to dip into education. During my time at PUC, I took a few education classes to see if it would be a good fit (which quickly convinced me I was not the formal teacher type). The wonderful thing about my English degree is that it has opened a lot of doors for me. Despite the annoying question of “What can you do with an English degree?” I learned you can do a lot! I’ve gotten interviews just because of my English degree. In the museum field, there is a lot of writing involved in the day-to-day activities. My background in English has definitely been a benefit to my work overall. Being a strong writer and communicator comes in handy! 

Do you have any memories as an English major that stand out?

Stauffer Hall was a second home. I loved walking through when classes weren’t in session and seeing who was in their office. I especially loved finding goodies baked by the faculty in the hallway (we were well fed by our wonderful professors). During the holidays, mostly around Christmas time, we would get together and make ornaments which was always my favorite. We were a little family and I honestly loved it and look back upon it very fondly. 

Do you have any advice you have for future/current English majors?

I will tell you a truth that I wish I knew as a college student, something that has taken me a really long time to accept and understand: there is no direct path to who you are meant to be. The pressures graduates face upon coming out of college are ones of instant careers and struggling to make enough money to pay off debt. Writing, for a lot of people, isn’t always a lucrative option, but it is a passion many English majors have. Most of the time, one cannot live off of their passion. I couldn’t live off of my passion for museum work. I worked a lot of part time jobs, tried to find another path with more lucrative careers, but ended up volunteering at museums in my spare time. I couldn’t escape what made me happy and what I felt I was meant to do. 

There was no one decision that led me into the position I am in today, but a series of many decisions that eventually led me to place that made sense for me. Up until now, I have had a career path with many twists and turns but I have still stayed true to what I am most passionate about: educating others about art and culture. I guess what I mean in the end is, stay true to your passions, whether that is writing or anything else, and don’t let the detours convince you that you are on the wrong path. There is no timeline or five-year plan; there is only passion and what you decide to do with it.