Few years ago, walking back from a night out with a French mate and talking about life, this question popped out : qu’est-ce que tu veux faire quand tu seras grande ? I’m in my mid 30s. I have done all sorts of jobs in various fields. French and English as a foreign language teacher. Volunteer in various communities focusing on cultural & social impact. Independent researcher in Digital Humanities. Freelance digital strategist who cares about ethics. Project manager. Trainer. Entrepreneur. So yeah, lots of different hats.

What do you want to be when you grow up ? I’m in love with English language since more or less forever and decided I will be an English teacher when I was 13. I did everything by the book during my studies to become one. I chose English studies in high school. I graduated in English Literature, Civilization and Linguistic Studies at university. I lived in Wales and worked as a French Language Assistant in a Welsh speaking comprehensive school. I failed – twice – the French exam to join the Education Nationale as a high school English teacher. The third year, I became a headmistress and primary school teacher instead. I resigned after three years. I was good at teaching. I wasn’t good at following orders.

What do you want to be when you grow up ? In France, you study philosophy during the last year of high school. I chose the Littéraire path, it meant I had eight hours of philosophy per week. I hated it. The way it was taught. It was not about thinking by yourself but using ancient and contemporary philosophers’ ideas. I was 17. I had been reading Boris Vian and Isaac Asimov for five years. I was interested in pushing boundaries and discovering what lies beyond. Descartes and Sartre were just not my cup of tea. I rediscovered philosophy at university, three years later, studying Renaissance Humanism as part of an optional course. It was different from what I had experienced in high school. I got interested. After a ten-years gap, I registered for a Master’s degree in Renaissance Studies. My main subjects were History, Philosophy and Science – combined in every possible ways.

What do you want to be when you grow up ? I’ve started using a computer when I was 5. Probably sooner but I can’t find any pictures before this time. I have always been interested in what we call today Computer Science. I discovered you could create program by yourself when I was 10. I was coding for fun at home while others were going out together. I liked it. It never occurred to me it could be a real job. I was a teenager. A girl. In the end of the 90s. Computer Science wasn’t even a thing back then. And it would have been a job for men anyway. No female dream job there. I kept coding. More Internet. Less gaming. I did websites. A lot. Some were paid job. Some were not. I worked for companies. For associations. I liked it. I eventually decided to work freelance. I chose the term web strategist, but few years ago it could have been traffic manager, and few years before webmaster. Technology evolves. Skills evolve. Terms do too.

What do you want to be when you grow up ? I had always been attracted by words. I loved books. I started writing for pleasure while in primary school. Poetry. The structure and rhymes. The creativity. I liked it. I could express so much in few lines. Playing with words. Meanings. Sonority. Combined in every possible ways. I was translating English texts, lyrics, poems when 14. For pleasure. Learning new words. Confronting myself with translation issues. Thinking in both languages. Translating my own creations too. French and English became two alternative to communicate. I was still writing mostly in French though. I had a fair amount of blogs during the past decade. I decided to switch to English when I moved to Italy. Learning Italian has been a difficult but interesting experience. I didn’t study Italian. I learnt it. Today, my brain consider English as my official language. French and Italian are two add-on. Yet French is still my mother tongue.

What do you want to be when you grow up ? Simple question. Complex answer. All those interests, those experiences, forged the person I am today. They are part of me. Just like other interests and other experiences. Music. Travels. Sexuality. There is an infinite pool of learning. Past. Present. Future. I want to use all these to help people. I want to educate people. I want to warn them about things they don’t see. I want to give them tools to defend themselves. Sometimes I feel like an activist. Silent. Kinda. Very often I feel like writing. Technology and Humanities. Anarchism and Democracy. Entertainment and Marketing. Data Analysis and Critical Thinking. E-Skills and Technology Empowerment. But then, writing is not enough. Action is what makes the difference.

So what do you want to be when you grow up ? Through everyday life : I want to make a difference. Live without fear. Meet all kind of persons. Practice various activities. Spread my values and ethics. Use my knowledge. Help people. Stay humble. Be part of a better world. For the sake of it. Keep growing up.