Our next life story is Julia’s, a brave young woman who decided to bid farewell to a traditional and safe career to make her childhood dream come true: “When the time came to make a decision, I kept thinking back to that question you ask yourself when you are a kid ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?. When I was a young girl, my dream job was to be the Curator of the MASP.”
Born and raised in São Paulo, amidst all the city chaos, Julia always had a taste for what was different: “I’ve been different all my life. I loved reading while all the other girls liked to play with Barbies, I liked music when everyone else was into sports. I’ve always loved history and had well developed speaking skills from an early age. My mom used to say that my argumentation skills were so great and I was so stubborn that by the age of 4 no one was able to say “no” to me anymore.”
Precisely because of her extraordinary “argumentation skills”, most people who knew Julia would constantly tell her that she should be a lawyer. They were so persistent that she found herself convinced that this was the career path she wanted to pursue “I wound up thinking this was the right path for me, so I applied to Law School in my last year of high school and got into University”.
Julia quickly saw that she had thought wrong. On her first semester at college she realized that she didn’t fit in that environment and began to live in a state of constant dissatisfaction: “I already didn’t like it, but people kept telling me that it was too soon to be sure, especially without having had real work experience in the field, so I decided to give it another chance and got my first job. I started working in one of the top law firms in the country and those were probably the hardest 8 months of my life. I did not identify with the people there, did not like what I did and had to work very long hours, often reaching 12 hours a day”.
At one point, Julia’s boss pulled her aside, and that turned out to be key to the decision she was about to make: “The moment of crisis came when she pulled me aside and said I lacked commitment and that I should think about what I wanted for my career and the level of commitment I wanted to bring into it. The next day I told her I was leaving”.
After that, Julia decided to work as an intern at the Department of Culture of São Paulo, where she was appointed to the staff of the secretary himself “It was an amazing experience and a really important one to me. I learned about culture and cultural organization in the city”.
But soon external pressure resumed and along with it came all her doubts and uneasiness. Julia had taken time off college a few times and stopped dedicating much time to her studies. Her classmates were about to graduate and she was a year and a half behind. “I started feeling desperate, so I quit my job to focus on my studies again”.
Her focus on Law School did not last long. She took the money she had saved up and decided to go on holiday and study Art History in London: “When I went to London to take the summer course, I wanted to do something for the pleasure of doing it. It did not even cross my mind to work in this field. It was a wonderful experience which definitely marked me and indubitably ended up directing my choices”.
When she came back, Julia did not feel like focusing on Law School at all, so she started doing volunteer work and taking on freelance jobs as a translator. She decided to apply to two college courses: Public Relations and a new course at PUC called – “Art: History, Criticism and Curatorship”. “I ended up getting into both courses, so I had a choice before me. Choosing the course at PUC was like playing Russian roulette, since no one had ever heard of it and it wasn’t even acknowledged by the Department of Education.”
So this time Julia decided to follow her heart and took a chance at turning her dream into reality: “When the time came to make a decision, I kept thinking back to that question you ask yourself when you are a kid ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?. When I was a young girl, my dream job was to be the Curator of the MASP. So the decision had already been made: I wasn’t about to try and have another safe, but unhappy career. I’d much rather take a chance and do something I knew I would really like”.
From that moment on, Julia’s life completely changed: “That was the start of a string of amazing things that happened in my life: I started an internship at the Bienal, and then was offered a job as assistant in the curatorship department. A few months later I was invited to be project coordinator at the Education department at Tomie Ohtake. I am still working there, but now I am in Department of Research and Curatorship. I am also an independent curator and teach beginner Art History and curatorship courses.”
Julia has, without a doubt, turned her childhood dream into her current reality! What about you? Have you also turned your dreams into reality?
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