Career Disappointment (Part 1) – On the Road to Success

When you think you have your lifetime career goal planned, you would be surprised at how a one single decision can turn this goal 360 degrees and bring you down a totally different path; one that you had never imagined. This, my story, emphasizes the importance of believing in your dream and passionately pursuing it. Take my advice ladies: Whatever you do, don’t ever let anyone dissuade you from your goals, or you may one day find yourself shattered and disillusioned.

From the age of seven years old, I always knew that I would become a doctor and that I would save many people’s lives. This was my dream! I could picture myself with a big family (at least five children), a nice husband, a big house filled with love and laughter and of course a nanny to take care of the children. I would have the perfect life!

Pursuing my career goal took a tremendous amount of commitment. I had to be dedicated to studying very hard; which I did. I never went out bar hopping and drinking, nor did I do drugs like many of my dearest friends did. My devotion to my studies took precedence over everything else, and I missed out the teenage mischief typical of the 70’s. Remember those days? Yeah, I thought you might! Well, I spent them studying; but my days and nights in the library paid off when I earned the right to skip grade twelve and start college at the age of fifteen in the general program in Health Sciences! Being just above average, I had to work hard, but I was successful….and that much closer to my dream!

Having started school early and skipped grade twelve, most of my friends were two to three years older than me. At fifteen, I was still very young; though surprisingly mature in regards to my education. At the time, I was a very reserved and shy person, but when I started college, it was like I had discovered a brand new world. I had a boyfriend in those days, with whom I went out with for four and a half years; from the age of fifteen until nineteen. He was handsome, charismatic, and most of all played lead guitar in a band. He was great!

My days in college were far more interesting than high school, maybe because I was more outgoing. I had my boyfriend and made a lot of friends. During this time, I really came out of my shell. I met a lot of people, studied with all of them and we had many group projects to do. Those college years taught me the value of collaboration and teamwork, which made the workload and studying more enjoyable.

Life is funny in a way, it presents you with what you need for your highest good. All through my studying years, I was influenced by professors. I was even attracted to some of them! They were young, vibrant and captivating; not the typical grey haired professor with glasses. Did this happen to you? (Write to us about it!) I started to get to know my professors and that helped me enjoy my studies even more! I enrolled in the general Health Program with a busy curriculum: chemistry, biology, math, physics, philosophy and language courses. I often had to stay late at school and even work on weekends together with some other students to complete our projects. I would regularly bring homework to my boyfriend’s band practices. At home, while he watched TV or played his guitar, I would do my homework. But don’t worry, it was never boring! I always made sure we always had time to cuddle and you know…

At seventeen, I entered university and was also working part time at the Hospital as a technician in the Biochemistry lab. I had to work because I had to provide for myself and pay my tuition fees. At the time, rent was only $145.00/month and you could buy at least five brown paper bags of groceries for $100.00. Sharing expenses, my boyfriend and I were easily able to support ourselves without help from our parents. We were making approximately $12.00 an hour. At the time, we took any and all shifts that were offered to us. Our regular hours were Thursdays and Fridays from 4 PM to midnight and weekends from 8 AM to midnight. Yes these were sixteen hour shifts; we practically lived at the hospital! After a busy day at the emergency with trauma patients, I sometimes slept there. It was just like the TV series that take place in the ER; you know, the busy hospital with bloody people and all the activity that comes with it. I thrived on the commotion and the adrenaline that fuels the ER environment. I knew then, I always knew, that this was where I belonged.

I have some great memories of the hospital. I remember we would often get a mobile bed from the recovery room (where patients would be resting after surgery) and we would sleep in the lavatory room (area where the lab equipment would be washed), until our next shift. It was not very restful since we could hear the activities during the night shift in the lab; especially the centrifuge spinning and the different timers ringing for a reading to be taken on the spectrometers. Our life was totally oriented towards the hospital and school. We had great moments and scary moments, but most importantly, my dreams were becoming a reality and every day brought me closer to my goals.

Have you ever worked in a place where everything feels right for you?

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See the sequence of this story – ‘Career Disappointment (Part 2) – Help Along the Way’.

Story by Joanne
Edited by Lee-Anne C.

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