Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Did You Want to be When You Grew Up?

I didn’t have many role models of women who worked. Back in the sixties, most of the people we knew, in the Finnish community, were new immigrants who were still learning English. Many were housekeepers. They called themselves, ‘Leaning Ladies’. My own mother was first a waitress, then a bartender, then a cook. The only jobs I knew of for women were the traditional ones; secretary, teacher or nurse. Although I didn’t personally know any nurses. I didn’t even really know what they did until I started watching the show, Emergency.

At different times, I wanted to be a teacher, or a writer, or a flight attendant. We called them Stewardesses back then. I wouldn’t actually want to be one, since I hate flying. I also thought I wanted to be an architect, but that was more because I was a dreamer and was imagining my dream house, even as a little girl.

During highschool, I was still undecided, so I looked through the list of programs offered at different universities. I had no clue. I thought maybe Geneticist, since I seemed to understand the class on Mendellian genetics. When I found out I needed the other Sciences and Math, I gave up on that. I seemed to be all over the map with my marks in highschool, barely passing the courses I disliked, like Math or Geography, and excelling in the ones that interested me, like English, Shorthand, or Typing.

Suddenly, highschool was ending and I still didn’t know what I wanted to study. I didn’t have any five year plan. I couldn’t imagine that I would have to learn a trade and look after myself. I was a typical narcissistic, short-sighted teenager.

At the last minute, I looked over the courses offered at our local community college. Nursing looked to be the most interesting to me. I applied for only that, and only in that one location. They received over 300 applications and randomly chose 80. I was one. I guess that was where I was supposed to be, because once I got in, I loved it, and excelled in my studies, since every class interested me.

I’ve been nursing over 25 years now, and I love my job. I specialized in Oncology Nursing. See my post on Oncology Nurse, On Purpose for an explanation.

I’ve been writing off and on for about five years more seriously. I write because I love it, and I feel I have something to say. Where this will lead, I leave to God. I don’t know if I feel the need to be published to be validated, although it would be nice.

All that to say, I think our dreams change over time, yet sometimes we don’t know what they are until we learn what’s out there. I appreciate that my daughters learned how to study earlier in life than I did, so that they had more opportunities. Also, women aren’t stuck in just the traditional jobs. My eldest is a Social Worker and my youngest is studying to be an International Lawyer. I’m very proud of them.

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