Well, here it goes, Part 2 of that thing I wrote last week and my last column here at The Signpost. To end it all, of course I’m going to talk about myself.
This semester I will be completing my fourth undergraduate degree in a field that is completely not at all in the same college as the Bachelor of Nursing I got last spring. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of the professional and technical writing institutional certificate program a year ago. I found it through a friend after trying to work out if I wanted to spend another 2-3 years finishing a second bachelor’s degree, which was in a college again completely opposite to any degree I’ve gotten before (theater with an emphasis in costume design).
Heck, maybe after a year or two of being a non-student adult, I’ll go finish it anyway. But for now, I have a nice, comfy job in the tech writing field. Full-time with benefits, too. It’s really surprising sometimes how quickly and thoroughly our life career paths can change.
In short, I went to school for more than half a decade to get a bachelor’s degree in a career field I’m not even working in. Was some of my schooling a waste of time? Sometimes I fool myself into thinking so. But on most days, when I check up with myself and compare notes with how I was just a few years ago, I realize our paths in life don’t always take us to the destination we plotted out on our map, because sometimes that destination just isn’t right for us. Some of us just don’t know it until we’ve made the trip. And that trip isn’t a waste of time.
I plotted that bachelor’s degree in nursing destination since sixth grade. But I think I’ve known for years now that it wasn’t a destination I’d be sticking with. Maybe it was that first morning on my very first clinical of nursing school when a seasoned registered nurse asked me if I really knew what I was getting myself into. A lot of people ask me why I’m not working as a nurse. The pay is considerably more than what I’m making now, and it’s not too difficult to find a job if you’re willing to commute and settle for some of the more stressful work environments. There are many people out there who would just love to be in my position. Maybe you’re one of them. To which I say, best of luck. Truly.
It takes special people to be good nurses. There are lots of OK nurses. Quite a few decent ones. It’s like any profession. I think I make an OK nurse. But I know now that I make a much better technical writer, graphic designer, costumer and events manager. While many of my classmates knew their passions rested in the labor and delivery units or geriatric homes, it took me many years to realize my passions were elsewhere. And that I was only doing myself a disfavor by not going out to find them.
I’m happy right now with the career and educational choices I’ve made, even though to others it might seem like I’ve wasted so much time. It’s never too late to change your goals to fit your passions, to meld what you love to do with what you do for a living every day. I hope that if you aren’t happy with where your life is going, you’ll find the courage and the means to turn it around. Even if you’re one of many of our fellows who will be anxiously awaiting a piece of paper in the mail that costs more than most cars.
I learned here at Weber that life is too short to not be waking up every day happy and eager to go out and live. If you haven’t had a chance to learn that lesson yet, then maybe someday you will. Maybe it will take you seven years and several degrees. And you’ll probably end up a better person because of it. Thank you, Weber State, for all of the lessons. Now it’s time to go out into the real world and learn some more.