Robyn Hoodie, the Virgin Diary - Chapter 5: Career Planning

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Chapter 5: Career Planning

Teenager with a fancy weapon wearing a hoodie

One morning during breakfast, our parents decided it was time to enquire what our plans were after secondary school. Robyn reacted by ignoring the question, walking to the fridge and asking if it was OK if she made some revolving diminutive lady dogs (a.k.a. French toast). Judging from their stern looks, this move was not appreciated by our parents.

As mentioned before, Star and Portia decided what studies they would be doing after secondary school quite early (Archaeology and Biochemistry). From what I heard down the hallway, Robyn was stuck deciding what studies would most suit a World-saving Inventrix kind of job. For gadgets you need some sort of engineering, but even if you are a genius you still need people to buy the gadgets. Selling subpar inventions due to lack of Engineering skills looks to be a steady source of income, but has more to do with Psychology, Economics or Management (Why is there no Womanagement? Maybe women don't want to discuss their age, or they are afraid only men will enroll). Getting away with prolonged sales of subpar inventions might require a degree in Law, Politics and/or Escapology.

My ideas to see if I could study Cheese-ology in Gouda were nipped in the bud when I mentioned my severe lactose intolerance on the open day. My burning red eyes betrayed me. The reason to choose Gouda in the first place was largely a matter of logistics. (It was in between Leiden and Utrecht, where the Twins would be studying). The alternative would be Amsterdam, The Pool of all Evil, according to my American Discord friends. Given the nature of their regular views on all other sorts of topics, this moniker didn't scare me off, rather the contrary. It can't be that bad? Anyway, they do have a very large choice in studies over there, which doesn't make it easier. Earth Sciences would place me nicely in between the Twins, subject-wise, but after hearing that graduates usually ended up at the large fossil fuel companies or pursued careers in IT, I decided it was not for me. History would be adding new stuff to old stuff making it into more old stuff. The Chemistry campus felt toxic. Looking at my sister, I knew Engineering wouldn't be for me.

My faint experiences with blood ruled out anything Medical. The other risk of restricted blood circulation to the brain, due to wearing a tie, made me wary of choosing anything in Management, Advertising or Economics. Since I am not a fan of the 'You lose, you die' principle, joining the armed forces was out of the question. In today's state of the World, the risk of being deployed is too big. Drinking yourself to death out of boredom, which is the usual peacetime reality for soldiers, isn't that much better anyway. I was just in time to find out Astronomy is not the same as Astrology and that it would greatly restrict my night life, so no thanks.

Speaking of Astrology, at this point I seriously considered alternative methods to pick a study. This included throwing a dart while blindfolded, rolling my 300-sided dice and tarot reading.

My deep discussions on life choices with the American Discord friends briefly made me wonder whether Psychiatry would fit me, but I decided my handwriting wasn't that bad.

Given my mediocre grades, any study which proclaimed to be 'Numerus Fixus' could be safely disregarded. This did reduce the options a bit.

After some pressure from our parents, Robyn decided to organise a war council with the other girl geeks. I was allowed to listen in as a non voting member if I arranged snacks and drinks. (Note to self: how about a career in Catering?)

Robyn announced the session opened after I performed rites of The Lighting of the Scented Candles and The Sealing of the Bedroom Door against Intruding Parents and Whatnot.

According to my sister, Star and Portia couldn't come because of an emergency fencing training. I suspect she made one that up and just didn't want me distracted from my tasks. I would have known about that sort of thing.

Allana Dale, the class influencer, was considering a career in Advertising, modelling and motherhood, preferably in that order. She already shared an estimated timeline with Chris, her fiancé, so that he could plan accordingly. This got a round of approval from the other girls, who tried and failed to get that timeline on the table. I wonder if she would have told them if I had not been in the room.

Joan of Arcwelding Class told us that she was going to take a bridge-year to go to Japan and explore the uses of stainless steel filigree and origami in non-artistical structural applications. The language was going to be a challenge. So far she managed 'Arigato!' (Thank you) and 'Tsumasaki ni chui shite kudasai, kokina masuta!' (Watch your toes, Noble Master). Although Joan's pronunciation still translated as Slave Master instead. She was currently working up to the all-important 'Could you please turn the welding current up a notch?' The resulting 'Yosetsu denryu o wanranku agete itadakemasu ka?' came quite close with ' Could you please raise the cotangent current one notch higher? ' Nothing that couldn't be fixed with some impromptu hand gestures and the infamous strategy of repeating it in a louder voice. The other girls tried to encourage Joan to try and audition for a role in a real Japanese Manga series. Joan didn't seem that eager, mentioning she didn't think she wanted to dress the way an average manga girl did. She liked some more coverage than that, preferably several layers of steel and leather on any exposed part. It was only two months ago that she had managed to remove her steel hoodie, because it had started to get uncomfortable in places due to growth.

Curious Mary had long ago decided that she would pursue the single subject where she scored lowest on the exams, because that way there would always be room for improvement. This deeply hurt the Chemistry and Physics teachers, as they both would have really liked to be remembered as tutors of a future Nobel prizewinner. Hearing this, Mary made it very clear that she would know it if they made any attempts to influence her decision by lowering her grades, and that she was willing to help them with the more complex questions if they asked nicely.

It was now time for me to serve the high tea. It had taken me several hours of practice and a stepladder to pour the tea from just below the ceiling without spilling more than half of it. I got a round of applause anyway. (they knew who was going to clean up afterwards).

When the attention turned to Robyn's plans, silence followed, though not for long. It turned out that the other girls had come prepared. Allana handed a multicoloured questionnaire to my sister. Flowcharts featured prominently. Joan and Mary handed over a small metal rod connected to a container with something pink bubbling inside and urged Robyn to put the rod at the start of the flowchart. They started chanting as my sister followed the chart. (I don't do chanting unless I know for what purpose). At the first junction, the fluid turned either red or green depending on which way was chosen. Robyn experimentally followed the green direction down to the end of the chart. The final box said: 'Congratulations, you will go and study Mechatronics!'

With some hesitation, Robyn concluded that that might be something she would like to study and they all cheered. I poured a round of champapplejuice in celebration. While the girls were cheerfully talking about how good this had turned out, I secretly traced the flowchart through all the red choices. I wasn't too surprised to find out that this yielded the same result. Well... as long as she is happy with it.

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