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  1. #1

    How did you decide what career to pursue?

    You all seem like a wise bunch of ladies, so that's why I'm posting this here. I hope you all will be able to give me some advice and inspiration.

    When I was young, my ultimate goal was to be an elementary school teacher. All the members of my mom's immediate family have degrees in education, plus my father. So, it's what I grew up around. There's always been a deep-down desire to pursue a degree in education. However, my parents weren't totally supportive of it, and encouraged me, starting around middle school age, to look into other options for careers.

    So, that's what I did. I eventually stumbled upon pediatric nutrition, or even just nutrition in general. I told my parents about this field, and they thought it was great and began telling their friends [when they would ask] that I was planning to go into pediatric nutrition. However, in the past year or so, the desire to become a teacher has come upon again, even stronger this time. When I was researching nutrition, I decided that I could live with it. (This mostly came about when I had to go on a very strict diet of no gluten, dairy or sugar.) I certainly wouldn't be as happy doing that as if I was teaching.

    I love working with children. I work with children at our church 2 times a week, and it's what I can imagine doing for the rest of my life (or at least until I start a family of my own). A few months ago, I told my mom that I was serious about becoming a teacher. She was actually pretty supportive of it this time around and has been looking into school and class options with me. Apparently, she told my dad. He hasn't said much about it to me and keeps bringing up nutrition to me. My dad's a stubborn man, so I can't tell whether he's joking and is actually supportive of my goal, or if he's trying to push me in another direction.

    This year of high school is ultimately when I have to decide what field I'm going into so I can start looking into schools and scholarships. I'm honestly torn between doing what I love [elementary education] and doing something I'm okay with to please my family, especially my father.

    So, my question is this: When you chose the career you went into, did you do it because it would make you happy? Did you choose it to please others? Or was it a combination of both?

    Thank you in advance, and kudos to you if you read through all that! It was good to get this off my chest.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    933
    Ok, you sound A LOT like me when I was your age. I LOVED working with kids and wanted to be a teacher, because basically, my exposure to careers was very limited and education was the only career I was aware of that directly involved kids. My parents also discouraged me, but being interested in very little else, I got an elementary Ed degree anyway. It was during the last semester, while student teaching, when I realized I'd make a giant mistake and there was no way I could do this forever.... Talk about a problem!

    I spent a little while soul searching after that. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted desperately to work with kids and families, (but that I wasn't suited to be regular classroom teacher.) I applied to law school thinking I would do family law... That was a bust. Then I remembered something one of my professors had talked about during undergrad. She had said that if we ever realized we weren't cut out for regular Ed, to look into speech pathology. She said speech pathologists had the potential to make pretty good money, and were usually in fairly high demand. At the time, I brushed it off because it sounded like it involved a lot of science, which I don't like.

    A few years later, feeling desperate, I looked back into it. After some research, I realized that being a speech path would give me the flexibility to work with any age group I wanted, birth-geriatrics. It also would give me the freedom to choose my work setting. School, hospital, SNF, private practice. I shadowed the speech path at the school where I had student taught and I knew I had found my calling.

    I cannot say enough about my profession. Currently, I basically have my dream job. I get to work in the schools, (and have the awesome school schedule,) and I work with preK students. I do make more money than other teachers because of my specialized certification. I LOVE MY JOB!!!! In all fairness, just like in every profession, there are good jobs and bad ones. You just have to find the place you fit the best.

    I think speech therapy is an excellent profession for individuals who are interested in education, but not so much in traditional Ed. I could yammer on and on, but I won't. If you are interested at all in SLP (speech-language pathology), message me and I'd be happy to tell you more about it! Good luck on your journey!
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    970
    You've got to go with your passion. I know family can put a LOT of pressure on you to give up what you want in order to please them or make them proud or live up to their expectations...but at the end of the day you're going to move out, likely start your own family, and at that point your life is no longer so intertwined with your parents and what they want. So if you spent all that time living for them instead of pursuing what you really love, you might find yourself with some hardcore regrets.

    I was in a very similar situation...my dad is very stubborn and authoritarian, and he flat out told me that I was not allowed to pursue the major I wanted, that I had to sign up for his choice instead. At the time, pleasing him and restoring harmony to our home seemed more important than doing what I wanted...but if I could go back and do it over, I would gently and firmly tell my dad that it's not his choice to make, that I have my future to think about, and just let him rage. I paid for my education out of my own pocket, so he really had no authority to force me to pursue a different major. It was partly because of our conflicts over this that I left home with my boyfriend at the time, moved to Colorado, and "temporarily" left school. That was another HUGE mistake, because I'm now almost 25 and still haven't finished my degree.

    However, through that crazy journey, I managed to discover my passion...the one thing I could spend the rest of my life doing, the thing that doesn't even feel like a job, the thing that makes me truly happy and makes the hours fly by when I'm working on it or researching it: holistic medicine. I'm working through a 2-year Aromatherapy program, and when my husband gets moved to salary at his new job, I will be able to pursue a 4-year in Herbal Medicine. I wish I had pursued this course from the get-go, but I honestly didn't even realize it was available to me. It was when I moved out of my parents' house and realized I could now try anything I wanted without their disapproval...so I took a few classes here and there, and natural medicine just opened up a whole new world for me.

    All this to reiterate - go with your passions and you will NOT regret it. Why spend the rest of your life settling for something that you can live with, when you could be filling every day with something you're not really living without

    ETA: You could always marry the two fields and teach nutrition classes!
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3,552
    Quote Originally Posted by sleepysessha View Post

    ETA: You could always marry the two fields and teach nutrition classes!
    Agree with this! Do you know what to teach? If not, why not nutrition related subject?

    Apparently I'm only few years older than you and still struggling with somewhat similar issue. Am a college junior right now, but not 100% sure this is what I want. I enjoy being in my major and my current job, but I still think that maybe, there is something else I will enjoy even more. When I chose my current path, I thought about something challenging, out of my comfort zone, and "something-that-I-imagine-myself-can-do-that-for-a-long-time-in-my-life/hopefully forever". Well, you know what I mean.

    My family was okay with any options I considered that time, except medicine (more expensive, longer time to finish, you name it).

    Choose something you love, Cara dear. Consider what your parent said but do not let them make the decision for you. It's your life, not theirs.
    If you still not sure, try both. Learning is never a waste of time. Apply double major if you can manage that (okay, maybe I'm not the best adviser, lol) but only if you still love nutrition as well. Otherwise, being rebellious sometime can be necessary. Debate him, negotiate with him, anything that can make him understand your p.o.v. Good luck.
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  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Australia
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    2,841
    You sound pretty passionate about teaching!

    I'm a teacher myself (high school English). I've been teaching for six years and am currently studying for a Masters in Information Studies so I can become a librarian. I understand why your parents are trying to steer you way from teaching. If it's your passion, then great. But I've known so many teachers who, after only a few years in the job, can't wait to get out. It's an extremely demanding profession. You have to be 100% sure it's for you before you start studying. I didn't have that passion when I started my teaching degree. I had finished a degree in literature and teaching seemed like a natural career path for me. Basically, I didn't know what else to do with my literature degree! My advice to you is this: whatever you choose, be passionate about it! Otherwise, you'll have regrets. Good luck!
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