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Non-LIW Advice Needed...I feel so lost. WARNING - Very Long

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audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
Hello ladies. I've been thinking about posting this for awhile and finally decided to seek your advice as it always seems so helpful.

Here's my situation, it's totally non-LIW related, but life related anyway.

ETA: Please feel free to go straight to the bottom and answer the questions if you don't want to/don't have time to read the back story, any feedback at all will be helpful.

I'm graduating with my Bachelor's degree in May, I know, I'm really excited to be closing this chapter of my life, but I have NO IDEA what I want to do now. The only constant I've ever had when bouncing around career choices was something sciencey, sort of medical maybe, in healthcare probably. The only thing I've ever really wanted to do is help people, in some way, shape, or form.

I came to USF thinking I wanted to pursue Optometry. I got a job at LensCrafters, got some experience (worked there about a year) and started taking my pre-med courses required for admissions. Two semesters in and I already knew that the pre-med track wasn't working for me. I wasn't enjoying ANY of my classes and knew that I couldn't keep that going for many more years, not to mention I wasn't interested in something so retail, which is where the future of optometry is, with designer glasses, and contacts, etc.

So when Optometry didn't play out I explored Dentistry and found it to have similar problems as Optometry with the retail side of things (cosmetic dentistry, veneers, etc.) and the same type pre-med courses that I was already despising. I'd also explored things like orthopedics, veterinary medicine, etc. pre-college and lost interest for all the same reasons.

So in my third semester of college, it was time to look into completing my foreign language requirement for the Honors College and the only language I'd ever held any interest for was American Sign Language (I'd done some interpreting in the Deaf choir in church when I was younger). So when looking through the academic catalog for the course codes, etc. I found it listed under Communication Sciences and Disorders Bachelor of Arts (for pursuing speech language pathology or audiology). Not only had I found my language information, but a degree that sounded really promising. I did my research and switched my major with the plans to pursue a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology.

I finally felt like things were going right until my classes went from interesting facts behind the job to the clinical aspects which made me want run in the opposite direction, screaming, and pulling my hair out. Since I'd already changed my major, I clung to the other half of the degree and decided to stick with it but to pursue Audiology (hints my screen name). My application has already been submitted in full for the doctorate in Audiology admissions for Fall 2009, but now I'm having second thoughts.

Some of the things behind my second thoughts are that there's a good chance I may not get in (they usually receive about 50ish applications and accept 12, but this year with the economy and everyone deciding to go back to school, they've already received over 120 applications...) and I don't meet minimum requirements for admission (by .5 points in the writing section of my GRE, only).

So because there was a good chance I wouldn't get in and I like to be prepared, I decided to start exploring other options...well some of my supposed 'back-ups' are feeling more promising than my first choice! I was never whole-heartedly into Audiology, and my clinical observation class this past semester sort of confirmed that because nothing I saw really excited me. I figured out the cost of getting the doctorate in Audiology and it would cost me somewhere between $80-100ish thousand dollars!!!
For a career that pays between $40-60k/year, that feels like a lot of debt to take on! Especially for a career I'm not sold on! I'd be around 26-27 at the completion of that 4 year degree, finally ready to talk about engagement/marriage/houses etc. and I can't see dealing with that much debt, especially when S will be coming out of school debt-free. I just feel that it would really inhibit moving forward with our lives with that looming over me.

I've been looking into the Master's in Gerontology program and the Master's in Public Health (concentration to be determined...). Gerontology grabbed my attention because observing in the Audiology clinic really showed me how much I enjoy working with the elderly, but that could really be my focus on either track. Both are 2 year degrees with a much less rigorous schedule that would allow me to work full-time and not accrue any debt to attend (you can't work in the Audiology program). Salaries I've found on career search type sites are comparable ($40-60k starting, with room for advancement not available with Audiology). Audiology really caps out around $60k unless you open your own business which is something I've never been interested in doing.

I guess it boils down to I just plain don't know what I want to do and never have known. I don't have a calling and that's what's so frustrating. My BF was born to be an engineer and he's never wavered, he just doesn't understand why I can't just 'pick something'. I think either Gerontology or Public Health could lead me to places that would make me happy and feel fulfilled, with a salary I'd be happy with for having obtained a Master's degree.

My internal conflict with either of these choices is you don't 'become something'. Like with Audiology, upon graduating I'd be an Audiologist...S will be an Engineer. I guess I could be a Gerontologist
, but it doesn't feel the same. I think my ego doesn't like that I'd have to reply with something like "I work at a nursing home" when people ask me what I do since these degree options don't come with titles. I know that's petty, but that's in the back of my mind too. A Master's degree would be a great accomplishment and the jobs these routes would lead to just don't sound as important I guess, when really they would be.

I think that either of the Master's programs could be better choices because of the same reason I struggle with them, I wouldn't become something specific, so my experience could carry me into different fields, settings, and experiences that would keep me from getting bored if one particular position wasn't enjoyable for me.

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?

2. Do you love your jobs?

3. What do you do and how did you get there?

4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope?

5. Did you pay for school yourselves?

Thanks for listening or reading if you're still with me...anything at all would be appreciated.
 

tlh

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 31, 2008
Messages
4,511
Hi darlin! First off I want to give you a HUGE hug and say that you are not alone.
My BFF studied sign language for YEARS. It was her passion, she now volunteers.... and doesn''t make any money. She loves it... but she works in other jobs completely unrelated that she doesn''t have the passion for... just to pay her student loans. She thought she''d be able to get a job... but hasn''t. It is a REALLY tough market.

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives? okay. I gave up on everything I wanted to do because I was lazy, and in love. I wanted to be a vet, and still would, but I don''t like sick animals. I also was in journalism, and left college to go to a diff school where my then bf went. We broke up... I graduated, just to get a degree... my journalism credits took for a mass media degree... WORTHLESS! I figured a degree was a degree, and I was wrong. Halfway through I chnaged my mind and wanted to be in business. My folks wouldn''t pay for anymore schooling, so I minored in biz. Should have stayed... literally one more semester, I could have had my bs in biz. STUPID. Did I know what I wanted to do... nope. I just wanted a job like in office space. Stupid, meaningless, and in a cubicle... all what a life!!! What do I do now? I am a biz analyst. TOOK ME YEARS to get into it because I didn''t have the "right" degree.

2. Do you love your jobs? YUP. Cannot even begin to explain it. I''m LUVIN IT like some McDonald;s!


3. What do you do and how did you get there? I suffered. I worked for ERAC (the world''s worst job in the entire world!!!!) for YEARS, worked in Boat Sales, worked in Insurance, Car insurance, homeowner''s insurance, I dealt w/ bodily injury claims (YUK!), I worked as a data entry person (OMG want to shoot myself in the head), and then because of a contact I made along the way... I became a biz analyst... LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!


4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope? YUP. I thought I was just signing a paper saying I''d go to classes. I didn''t know my parents had me signing student loan repayment info... sticker shock when I got 4 years of bills later. 6 months after graduation, I was like... you told me you wouldn''t pay for more than 4 years of schooling! Now I''m paying the bills, screw you guys! (Had I known that I WAS PAYING FOR THEM, I WOULD HAVE STAYED AND GOT THE DEGREE I WANTED. TALK ABOUT BEING A RESPECTFUL KID... ooo part of me still hates my parents for that one.)


5. Did you pay for school yourselves? YUP. Bastards.


What I read here is fear. You want a job, but you don''t know what. Honestly, classes are NOTHING like the jobs themselves... why do you think so many lawyers QUIT? after 3 years? You enjoy sciences, and helping people. You also want to be compensated for all the time and effort you put into school... more than what a well trained Dental Hygeinest would make... but it seems that you are shying away from "Retail" healthcare jobs. You seem to be picking the "smart choices" people are gonna get old... and there are a lot of people OLDER THAN YOU... so it seems like the natural profession.

My aunt loves helping people... and took a course similar to yours. She is an occupational therapist... and loves her job. LOVES IT. I also known many Pharmacists that work for Health Insurance companies... and are not working for companies like walgreens filling prescriptions. You can take you degree and apply it elsewhere... but I would think about those things you love and pursue your passion. I honestly didn''t get mine until more than a decade of farting around in jobs I knew I hated. So if you know you hate something, steer clear of that!

 

blackpolkadot

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
495
Have you ever thought of being an interpreter for the Deaf? There are lots of places you can interpret, and in many places, they are in high demand.

Audiology was my original major, too! I changed to Deaf Education my 2nd semester :)
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
tlh--

Thanks for taking the time to answer, I really appreciate it. Your situation is what I anticipate most experience, you get a degree in something you enjoy (or not) and just work for experience to find what you really love. You nailed it on the head, I''m terribly afraid of putting lots of time, energy, stress, and money into something I''m not passionate about and I absolutely agree that working is totally different from coursework, real-life clinical observations are what''s changed my mind a bit and made me realize this field isn''t everything I thought it was.

I had thought about Occupational Therapy before, but I fear it may have the clinical therapy aspects similar to Speech that I didn''t care for. I think I read somewhere that sammyj is an OT, I''m hoping she''ll pipe in and give me some feedback about her path as it still lingers as an option in the back of my mind.

I guess my other concern about Gerontology over Public Health is that many of the available jobs require an RN, which I don''t have and am not willing to go back for at this point...not all, but some. Healthcare administration is something I think I''d be good at and enjoy.

Lots of choices...no wonder I''m going crazy.
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
blackpolkadot--

Cool to find a fellow audiology major..for now anyway
. When I first transitioned to this major I did consider being an Interpreter for the Deaf, but I really feel ties to a more clinical field and as much as I enjoy ASL, don''t think I could enjoy interpreting for more that a short while. Thanks for the advice though!
 

ladypirate

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
4,553
Audball, one thing I''d suggest is really thinking about whether grad school will be worth it for you right now. Do you want to go to grad school for a specific reason or just to get a degree? I think a lot of people go to grad school because they feel like they should have a graduate degree without really thinking about whether they''ll need one for their chosen line of work.

I work for a health-related non-profit and have considered going back to get a masters in public health or something along those lines, but I really like my job and I wouldn''t make any more if I did have my masters. Have you considered taking a couple of years and working and figuring out what you really want to do? It''s possible it will end up that you don''t even need an advanced degree to do it.

I hope that made sense--I just know so many people who went to grad school and then regretted it because they still didn''t really know what they wanted to do.
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
LP--

I keep coming back to this too, whether or not to go right now. I know for sure that I want an advanced degree, period, even if the pay scale doesn''t increase at all/very much. It''s just something I''ve always wanted to achieve so maybe that''s why I''m going so crazy trying to get it all together right now. BF will also be in school for several more years and ideally both being in the busy routine of classes and school and work helps to keep us balanced and understanding about not having much time to spend together.

I get where you''re coming from, but I fear not being able to get a decent job right now because of the economy with my Bachelor''s, but also because my Bachelor''s (being in Communication Sciences and Disorders) is really a good for nothing degree. It''s sole purpose is to prepare you for an advanced degree in Speech, Audiology, or a related health field. Pay scale with my ''qualifications'' wouldn''t be worth having gone to school the last 4 years. A full time job would probably pay less an hour than I make at my PT job on campus ($15/hr).

I think I''ve all but ruled Audiology out in my mind (won''t hear the official accept/deny until mid-late March). I know an advanced degree is what I want, I''ve scoured the graduate catalog for options that I''d find interesting/wouldn''t require me going back for a different Bachelor''s. It''s boiled down to Gerontology or Public Health (in whatever concentration calls to me once accepted).

Anyone have any ideas or opinions on job opportunity being better/worse in either of these fields?
 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 4, 2008
Messages
6,893
Hey Audball! I love your name - very cute! I really feel for you - I think it's perfectly, perfectly normal to not know what you want to do. Some people are born knowing what they want to do, others take more time, but it's not a race.

It sounds like with the economy and lack of jobs, it would be pretty inadvisable to get a PhD and spent that much money and time on a degree you're ambivalent about. Even if it has a bit more prestige (saying you're an audiologist) is that worth the extra years and the extra money?

Between gerentology and public health, my question is which one gives you broader job options upon graduation? My instinct is that public health is the one - you might be able to apply and qualify for a great range of jobs with that degree than with the one in gerentology. Since you're concerned about future job prospects, if those two are fairly equal in your mind in terms of interest and future income, I would go for the one that gives you more options.

I had the same dilemma a couple years ago in my junior year of college. I had thought (from middle school) that I wanted to go to law school, and in junior year I flip-flopped. I really wanted to get my PhD in English (specializing in early-modern British lit). Unfortunately there is NO market for humanities PhDs, and I realized in the end that as much as I would love to have that degree I didn't want it at that price (the years and the debt and the unavailability of jobs upon graduation). I went back to law, and I'm so glad I did. I do miss studying literature - but I LOVE having job security. I'm going to have a crazy ton of debt, but fortunately I'll be able to get a job, and get a job that will pay off my debt. I'm not working yet (i'm a second year) so my opinion might change once I actually start working in a firm! But right now, I'm very happy I went with law school.

Good luck with your decision! I would really just ask as many people as possible - strangers like us, and family, and friends, and go from there.
 

sammyj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
1,247
Wow...I read your whole post! I just skimmed over everyone else's though so I apologize if I sound redundant (but I don't think I will..).

Yes, I'm an OT (good memory!), but I'd like to preface my post by reminding you that I live in Canada and that schooling requirements, pay and even scope of practice may differ in the US.


Ok...I just typed out a whole paragraph about how I decided to go into OT but I thought it was boring so I'll just say that my schooling background and uncertainty is much like yours! I will say that OT is not my calling but I do love my job (most days). I think I was always meant to be a teacher, but I get to work in schools and some of the cutest kids ever, so when my life is stable enough and I've paid off all of my debts, I will seriously consider a career change (but also a huge paycut!).

I'll give you a bit of background of OT in Canada. It is a 2 year Masters program and the school that I went to did not have any prerequisites (with the exception of a Bachelor degree). There were 50 people in my class and we had 6 terms with alternating academic terms and clinical placements. University is MUCH less expensive in Canada and my annual tuition cost about $8000. Following graduation we have to write a national exam and pay lovely college fees, as well as obtain professional liability insurance. We work in hospitals, clinics, rehab centres, worksites, mental health centres, schools and in the community. The lowest wages start in hospitals and the most lucrative positions are with auto insurance / private practice. In auto insurance, we assess and provide treatment for people who have been in a motor vehicle accident. Treatment can range from: providing devices to help with daily tasks, home and vehicle modifications, cognitive rehab, etc. I would say that wages start at $60k and can be well over $200k if you run your own business. In the US I have heard that the most lucrative positions are working in the areas of autism and sensory integration disorders, but I may be wrong.

To answer your questions:
1) My parents decided for me
. I was deciding between a BEd and a MSc (OT) and my parents said to go with OT. They've always trusted me to make my own decisions so for them to speak up I felt like I had to listen. I can always go back for one year of teacher's college but I would be less willing to go back to school to complete a 2 year post-grad.

2) This is what I tell people...I wasn't born to work
! So, ya, I love my job most days but it really depends on who I've interacted with that day. EVERYDAY is different for me because I work in the community, so some schools I LOVE going to and other schools I dread (and it always has to do with the adults I have to deal with and not the kids because they're so freakin' cute!). I don't regret going into OT though because I know I'm making a difference.

3) I think I've already answered this but I'll also say that like you, audball, I was NOT comfortable at all with leaving school without a specific job title in hand. I always knew that I wasn't going to leave with just my BHSc, I needed to leave uni with a career. While I took English, Anthropology, Linguistics (I considered SLP too!), and Sociology courses in school, I personally would have never been comfortable graduating with a BA. I needed that stability....

4/5) I finished school with $35k of debt which was a combination of a provincial loan and a line of credit from my bank. This was from 6 years of school. I worked for 5 of those years and lived at home for 1. I know 35k sounds like peanuts compared to 100k! I knew I'd be ok paying it back because finishing school directly led to a career. My BF is my budget-keeper and we have been heavily focused on debt-reduction and we are hoping that I have everything paid off by April (I finished school in August 2006 and began working mid-September and he took over my budget in Feb 2007). No one in my class had trouble getting a job. I also feel like I am very secure in my job in spite of the economy (and a potential teachers strike!). It's that stability thing all over again...


I hope I answered some of your questions or at least provided some insight. I'll try my best to answer any questions you have!!!
 

babygirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
120
Hi audball,
I totally know what you''re going through! I''ve been out of school for almost five years and I''m still trying to find my "dream job". I started college as an English major, switched to Poli Sci and wanted to go to law school after graduation and then work in politics, then studied abroad and graduated with a French degree. Haha, not quite sure how THAT happened! I''ve worked in two different fields since graduation (haven''t used my degree yet but I''d love to someday!) and there were aspects of both that I loved- now I just need to figure out how to combine the two and I''ll be all set! :)

It must be hard on you since your bf seems to be very sure of and happy with his career choice. He''s really lucky that he found something he loved so early in life. This may not be the case for him, but I''ve noticed that my guy friends don''t have the same dilemma as us women. For instance, for a lot of the guys I know, their attitude towards their jobs is something like, "well this isn''t too bad, it''s stable, and I''m financially comfortable, I can pay my bills and sometimes do fun stuff, so yeah, sounds like a good job". My girlfriends, however, are largely looking for a field that speaks to them a bit more.. if that makes any sense. Trust me though, I had VERY few friends who knew what they wanted to be/do after graduation. And even now, the majority of my friends are still seem to be pretty ambivalent about their jobs. I definitely envy people who have found their calling and love what they do.

I''d also like to add that I definitely think that a grad degree is a great thing to have, but I would really caution against getting one just to get one, if you know what I mean. School is really, really expensive, and it seems pretty risky to commit to school if you''re unsure beforehand that it''s the right move for you. Sure, you might enjoy it, but you might also really dislike it, and then you''re either out $40k or so, or you don''t want to be out that much $$ and you complete the degree, only to be stuck in a career you aren''t happy with. I know it might be tempting to try to pursue a graduate degree right now, especially with the economy in the state it''s in, but grad school apps are also way up. And I may be wrong here, but I THINK that you''re in a better position than most soon-to-be grads since you''re in a medical-oriented field.

I''ve been talking to people about this exact thing for years... how they got where they are, what they like about their jobs, why did/didn''t they go to grad school?... If I were you, I''d definitely try to talk to as many people as possible, especially in the fields you''re interested. (USF likely has a career center and and alumni database full of alums who are willing to provide you with career guidance and advice- try to take advantage of that if you can!) Also, I hate to say it, but in light of your uncertainty towards what you want to do, I''d be inclined to postpone grad school for a bit. Working in either field first (even for a year or so) will definitely give you an indication of whether grad school/the work is a good fit for you. I''m not sure whether or not this is an option, but might you be able to get an internship in either field for the remainder of the semester? Or have an opportunity to volunteer doing either? (Companies might not be able to pay you at the moment so I''m sure they''d welcome all the free help they can get!) It wouldn''t be a lot of fun to work and not be paid (or be paid minimally), but I really think that a experience like this would pay for itself immensely down the road- in that you might save yourself a lot of time and money by narrowing down your options ahead of time. I wish that I had taken advantage of something like this years ago, so that I wouldn''t have gotten into fields where the reality wasn''t nearly as cool/exciting/etc as I thought it would be..

Sorry, this response is SO long.. I hope it helps a little! Best of luck to you with everything!!!!
 

BlueSki231

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
855
I just want to say I can sooo relate to your situation. I graduated college 4-5 years ago (I''m 26) and I went through the same thing. This is soooo common!! (P.S. My BF is an engineer too! :)

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?

Here''s my story: (it''s kinda long) My major in college was Psychology. Jr and Sr years I was absolutely SURE that I was going to grad school for clinical/counseling psych. Senior year I really started to get serious about applying. I had all my stuff turned in - recommendation letters, application.. but one thing I couldn''t quite spit out was my "personal statement". I couldn''t put down in 500 words why this was what I wanted to do. I started to question it all - I mean, if i can''t sit down and write a paper on why I want to do something, it''s kind of a sign to me that maybe it''s not the best idea for me. I decided I would just look for a job - any job - after college and put off grad school until I was totally sure that''s what I wanted.

Well, I found a job - your typical office job. And it was awful. I was even more confused cause I really wasn''t feeling like I wanted to pursue a masters, but I knew I couldn''t stay in a corporate office type environment. Like you, I wanted something meaningful where I was really feeling like I made an actual difference.

Well, I was searching and searching for direction in every possible way. Mentally, spiritually, and actually searching online for possible careers that caught my attention. I started to form an interest in holistic health and things of that nature.. It occurred to me I should go to massage school.. sooooo I did! (OK so I''m really simplifying it here so I don''t bore you to death with the details!)


2. Do you love your jobs?

YES!! Now I do!!


3. What do you do and how did you get there?

So now I''m a massage therapist. Honestly, I have no idea how I got here haha! When the thought to be a massage therapist crossed my mind about 3 years ago, I myself thought I was nuts cause I''d never even had a professional massage when the thought came to me, so where was this coming from? But the more I looked into it, the more excited about it I got - so I went for it.


4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope?

I''m lucky enough not to be in extreme debt. Right now I only owe about 10k for my massage school loan. I''d rather not have that debt hanging over my head, of course, but at that amount it''s not terribly overwhelming.


5. Did you pay for school yourselves?

I was lucky enough that my parents paid for my college education, but I paid for my massage school with a student loan.


I guess my advice to you is keep searching because eventually it''s gonna become very clear.
It sounds like you''re on the right track because you keep exploring different options only to find that they''re maybe not the best fit for you in the end. This is progress!! Keep looking till you find that one thing that REALLY excites you! The Gerontology or Public Health masters sound like pretty good options if you think they''ll give you a lot of career possibilities. A lot of options is always good, especially if you''re not too sure about what exactly you want..
I have to compare the feeling of finding the right career path to finding the right guy. The feeling is just exhilarating - like this is IT!! And you just know it!

Good luck to you. You will find it eventually! Just don''t settle cause you deserve the best!
 

bootsiekin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 23, 2008
Messages
188
Hi audball,

I understand its frustrating not finding a degree that seems to really feel just right, and its hard to separate it from the salary aspect..

I was kind of like you, always thinking I wanted to do something in science although my passion is music and art, I knew that wouldn''t pay the bills. I was pre-med thinking I would be a vet, until I took an anatomy lab course and switched my major to chemistry. I got a BS in chem and went to grad school just because I didnt know what else to do and got my masters. (I found out in grad school I should have gone for biology as I actually enjoy it more). The lines can be rather thin though, and trust me there were definitely parts of chemistry that I loathed, but I hung in there and focused on the parts that I did enjoy. I went out into the work force with my masters and found that I couldn''t get a job doing what I wanted to do with "only" a masters and no industry experience, so after two years I returned to grad school and should complete my PhD by the end of the year.

It was a difficult choice, because at the time I was working for a large pharmaceutical company and making a LOT more money than I thought possible..BUT..I was sitting at a desk. I hadn''t touched a flask or made a solution or really utilized any of my chemistry knowledge. I want a phd for the respect that goes with it, but I also knew I wouldnt be happy long term at that job, even making a ton of money - possibly more than I will get with my PhD. Sometimes I regret the decision, when the bills are piling up and my old friends from work who are younger than me are driving BMWs. However..every time I figure out an experiment and get it to work, every time my advisor says, "good thinking!" or any time I talk about my research to my friends it becomes clear that I made the right choice. The moral of the story is, even if it takes longer and you may make less money, in the long run you will be happier because you are doing something you enjoy each day. Luckily for most science grad students, we dont typically pay to attend. Every year I have been in grad school I have been awarded a teaching assistantship or research fellowship that waives my tution and pays a small stipend, so while I am pretty "poor" I didnt acquire much debt.

The trick now becomes finding out what that something you enjoy is..I wish I could help you with this. I can tell you that when you mentioned enjoying working with the elderly, I thought Physical Therapy (my mom is an PT), and you mentioned OT. Also, my sister is an optometrist - and I can assure you that virtually nothing of her day to day job has been "retail" oriented! (she is a very sciency person, enjoys diagnosing ocular diseases, etc. but I know a lot of her classes were mind-numbing insurance billing, business related stuff) But that is besides the point. I am sure that both PT and OT as well as optometry will be very clinically oriented, because those jobs take place in a clinical setting - and you mentioned a few times not liking that aspect of the subject (is it something more specific than that?). Another thing that jumped out to me about your post is that my SIL is deaf and has a masters in education. Her job is teaching ASL to the deaf and she really enjoys it. I think in almost any job there will be parts of it that are less than perfect, so you do need to keep that in mind. It sounds like you really enjoy working with people, so maybe a counselor of some sort? I am not familiar with what areas public health would lead you, but it might be worth exploring.

I wish I could be more help. My advice is to take your time to figure out what you want to do. If you come up with an idea, try to seek people out that do that for a living and talk to them about it. See if you can shadow someone and see if you like the day to day activities of the job. Good luck, I think you will figure it out - it will just take some research!
 

misskitty

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 20, 2008
Messages
1,691
*Giant hugs* I swear, you could be telling the story of my life, except sub in a few different majors, and I''m a couple years older than you. The good news is, it is entirely possible to still find something you''re passionate about after bouncing around like that.

I started out trying to answer your questions in order, but it makes more sense just to tell you about my experiences in paragraph form, so bear with me.

First, what I did (which didn''t really work for me):
When I was in college, I was the queen of changing majors. Like, at least once every semester, I was there in the dean''s office with that form, and it got to the point that in the semester before I graduated, the dean and I got into a screaming match. Professional, I know :) I wasn''t on quite the same path as you, but I bumped from Poli Sci to Music to Philosophy to French to Linguistics to International Relations to Poli Sci to Economics to Environmental Biology to Pre-Law and finally back to Econ (that''s 11 majors in 8 semesters...I still wonder sometimes how I was able to complete enough credits in a single major to get a degree). If you had asked me what I was going to do with my life a semester before graduation (the point you''re at now), I would have straight up lied to you and told you I was going to be an actuary or a consultant or some nonsense that I had no interest in doing.
And then...I went to law school. I. have. never. wanted. to. be. a. lawyer. (This is the part where I''m telegraphing, and guessing what would happen if you went to grad school for audiology, or another of the programs you aren''t 100% sure of a career in) but law school is what confused kids with liberal arts degrees do sometimes. I burned out, and even though I did alright in the classes, I quit after my first year. I got a big-girl job doing corporate things, but I hated it, because I really just had zero passion for it at all. That was the point that it finally hit me that I was not on my dream career path, and I really needed to think about what I wanted to do.

How I figured things out, finally:
I don''t really know a good way to put this, but it sort of took me breaking down, crying a lot, and really just thinking, What makes me happy? to get some direction. Call it soul-searching if you want. For me, that actually entailed playing a lot of video games, because that happens to make me happy. And playing hours and hours of video games led me to do a little bit of programming on my own, which led me to take a CS class at a local college. And then another. Taking those classes really confirmed that I like this stuff, and I was more excited about it than anything I had studied in undergrad.

What I want to do:
With me still? Now try to wrap your head around this -- I want to be a software engineer. Yeah. And you know how I know I want to do this? Because every time I talk about geeky computer stuff to someone, my eyes light up, and I can go on and on and on until they pretty much have to tell me that I''m boring them to death, or I won''t stop talking about it. It''s kind of like the moment you realize that the guy you''re dating is your future husband. You just know. And for me, it was like realizing that after dating a whole string of losers...it took some time to find my real career passion.

Where I am now:
I wish I had an awesome ending for you, but I''m still a work-in-progress. The big problem for me is that I finally know what I want to do, but I''m only about 1/3 through my Master''s, so I can''t get a job in my field. Le sigh. I''m also unemployed (got laid off a few months ago) and I was paying for school myself (without loans) so I''m taking a break from classes until I get a job again. But! I have hope, and that''s really what drives me right now.

My advice for you:
I think, if you''re going to definitely do grad school, a Master''s degree is a safer bet for you than a PhD right now -- less time, less investment, and a wider range of jobs is available to you in the short term. One thing I would say that I wish someone had told me right after college: you don''t have to go to grad school right away. If you can get a job (any kind of job, not necessarily one in your field), I fully advise taking some time off school (sometimes, I feel like academic environments almost contribute to a lack of knowing what you want to do) and coming back to it once you have some work exp.

And most importantly: DON''T SWEAT IT! You''re not alone, and you will find something that you love doing, even if you don''t feel like you know what that is right now. Sometimes it just takes a lot of thinking and a little living to figure that stuff out.
 

Porridge

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
Messages
3,269
Hey Audball! I''m kind of in the same position as you so I can''t answer your questions, but I might be able to give you some advice! I''m in my final year of physical therapy and I loooove it, but I''ve always had a niggling doubt in the back of my mind that I might want to go to med school...can''t decide between being a PT, pursuing an academic career and working in a uni, or slogging away for years at med school (assuming I get in that is)!!! Driving me nuts
so I''m taking next year to work and hopefully that will give me a better view of what these professions really entail, what my options are realistically and what I''d really like. I''ll also get a better view of where my strengths and weaknesses are in the real world.

Do you have this option?
 

jcarlylew

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
3,899
I feel ya, becuase i too went through the whole "is this what i want to do..."
1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?
I havent decided yet, but i know i want it to be in publice service of some sort, be it planned parenthood, YMCA, etc

2. Do you love your jobs? yes and no. i love the people that i work with! but my company is a jerk.

3. What do you do and how did you get there? by chance - it is a catering company, so it does stray from my original goal

4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope? mine are not extreme, but i cope by just paying it off. at least it comes back to me at tax time :)

5. Did you pay for school yourselves? dear aunt sallie mae (student loans).

I have a degree in fashion marketing..and i am in catering. so needless to say my degree does not fit what i do. but i still apply a lot of what i learned in school with both jobs (i also work at the Y part time).

I think if you found the job that you love, just go full forth and do it. who cares if its "working at a nursing home". Personally, i owe people who work in retirement/rehab homes a lot as they were able to take care of my grandma when no one was able.

choosing a path can be tough, especially when schooling is involved. Now, while you are waiting for applications to go through, you should take the time to explore each type of job field. maybe set up some interviews with people in those positions that you are interested in?
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
Wow! I''ve got loads of advice! Thank you so much for everyone who took the time to respond. I did just read all the new posts from Brown.Eyed.Girl through jcarlycrew, but I don''t have time to respond right now (class starts at 8am....need to get out the door but had to get my PS fix first
! I''ll be back early this afternoon to respond to you all and hopefully more! I have my appointment with the Director of Aging Studies to talk about the MA in Gerontology today, hopefully that will shed some light on my research.

Thanks again all!
 

HappyCat

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
82
I''d like to start by saying, good for you for taking the time to figure this out! So many people (myself included) just flow through life taking the easiest or most obvious path.

That being said...

1/3. Like I alluded to above, I really did take the most likely road. I was a biochem/pre-med major in undergrad, then I went to graduate school to get my doctor of chiropractic degree. I''m now a chiropractor at a holistic health center. I had many moments where I considered doing other things, but I didn''t want to upset my course, and kept chugging along in the same direction.
2.Most of the time I do. With any health care profession, there is the potential for early burnout. And the fact of the matter is, they just don''t teach you to deal with human suffering when you''re in school, and that can be really tough emotionally. And there''s always that part of me that wonders how things would be different if I had stopped to really think about where my life was going.
4.I took out over $130K in loans over the 8 years of schooling. I''m now in repayment, and it stinks.
5.See number 4.

But I applaud you for thinking about your path in life so carefully!
Another thing to consider is what you want your job to be for you: do you want it to be a majorly defining part of your life and identity, or are you ok with it just being a way to fund the rest of your life? Neither answer is wrong! And no matter what you decide, keep your mind open. You never know what other interests may strike you (whether career oriented or just for fun). For example,the thing that excites me right now isn''t going into the office and seeing patients, but sitting at my laptop and writing code (my FF got me into it...he''s a senior developer for an internet startup). Whether this remains just a hobby, or turns into a second career, I''m happy to have this extra facet in my life. (And FF has joked about doing our own startup together some day...hehehe). My point is, just keep an open mind...if something interests you that seems way out of your original scope of interests, don''t discount it! It may be a real opportunity for you!

I hope things work out for you Aud! Take care and best of luck!

~HappyCat
 

wellinsm

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
Messages
71
Hi! I don''t really post, I''m more of a reader, but I enjoyed reading your post. I think that you should be very proud of yourself for giving such a hard look at what you want to do. So many people don''t in college, and just go in to what they "think" they will like, rather than if they truly love it or not.

I have a Master''s degree in Exceptional Education and a BS in Regular Education and I work with occupational therapists and speech language pathologists on a daily basis. If you are put off by the "clincal" aspects of the degrees, you might want to re-explore them from an educational standpoint. SLP and OTs who work in the school system do direct therapy, group therapy and work with all stypes and ages of students. My SLP comes in and does whole group classes with my students (they are K3 students with 2 or more disabilities including language/speech).

Audiology within a school system is more clinical as the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing does the speech detection/perception and much of the auditory training.

I also have a certification in DHH Education. If you remain in audiology but want more contact/rewarding opportunities, what about specializing or becoming involved with a cochlear implantation team or auditory-verbal or auditory-oral therapy? My thesis was on cochlear implantation and while it is a hot button topic, it is growing larger and larger every year.

Sign Language interpretation does require certification from the state, but allows for very flexible work hours...

Good luck in your search!
 

4ever

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,260
You are so not alone in this. It takes many people a long time to arive at their final career. My sister has spent years doing 1/2 degrees and then changing her mind and starting over again, raking up a huge student debt on the way. She''s worked out (assumming she finnishes this one) that once she gets the job she''s studying for and has to start paying off debt, she''ll be no better off, money wise, then she is now as a student who has to work part time.
I have many friends doing exactly the same thing aswell.

I think there is just way to much pressure to KNOW what you want to do with your life, we ask 8 year olds what they want to be when they grow up!

Just go for your gut instinct, which ever courses you really enjoyed and don''t put so much pressure on yourself, people change jobs after they graduate, just because you train to be one thing, it dosn''t mean you''re stuck doing that for the rest of your life.
 

Definitely. Maybe

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
582
This is a wonderful post and sums up a lot how I have felt over the years. I grew up *knowing* I wanted to be some sort of doctor or work somewhere in the medical field. I just knew it. So, I started my degree in Microbiology. I never felt that it was my calling, but my family kind of pushed me in that direction so I went with it. Well, once I started to hit the pre-med classes I found I really hated it, but had no idea what else I could or would want to do. Finally I realized everything i "knew" was wrong. I realized, like you, I wanted to help people.

After this realization my BF's mom really talked to me about teaching. She thought I would be great for it... and I only thought about the pay. Going to school for 4+ years and only making ~30k just wasn't sitting well with me and so I pushed it aside. I did change my major to a degree similar to Psychology/Social Work and loved it. However, as graduation came closer I still had no idea what I was passionate about or what I wanted to do. Well, to make this shorter, teaching was brought back up and I found that I really, really loved it. Although I wasn't going to be paid as much as I thought I realized I would be able to have *time* which is really important to me. I want to be there for my own children (one day when I have them), be home for my husband, travel with family, etc. So the more I thought and the more I looked into I finally realized what my passion was. I love children and what better way is there to help someone then to help children learn?

Teaching may not be exactly for you and that is not what I am trying to push. However, I think you should try asking someone else, like your mom or anyone you look up to and ask them what they see you doing. I know it was really helpful to hear it from BFs mom, because she saw what I wasn't able to see in myself.

I am now finished with my bachelors and looking for a full time job, so I can't say too much about that, yet. However, I do plan on pursueing my master's this fall or next spring. I hate, hate, hate the idea of going into debt over school, but sometimes it is needed. I will most likely have to take out a student loan to cover costs, but I also plan on working while going to school to keep the costs down. I think overall it will be worth it to have that degree.

In the end, it took me a LONG time to get to where I am now, so just know you aren't alone. I know it is difficult to have your BF or others around you know what they want, but you will get there. :)
 

dragonfly411

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
7,378
Hey Audball - Well I have to say that I''m actually probably younger than you so don''t know how much it''ll help but:

1. I decided what I want to do with my life based on what I love, and what I know I"ll enjoy doing every day, working with animals, mainly horses.
2. At the moment I do not love my job as I am still in school and am working at a job until done.
3. I''m a shipping manager currently.
4. No
5. I''m paying class by class as I can
 

jjdav

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2008
Messages
180
Hi Audball,

I saw your post and wanted to chime in
, to answer your questions:

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?

I grew up in Australia, and you kinda have to start making some of your decisions in high school as quite a number of degrees are 3 years rather than 4 because to enter into the course you have to either score at a certain level for specific subjects or the subjects are considered assumed knowledge. I had a long discussion with my parents, they wanted me to pursue science since I could have gotten a scholarship, but I wanted to do something I enjoyed (e.g. study business/economics) and was reasonably good at (physics and maths were interesting but I was never the best student in those classes).

2. Do you love your jobs?

Most of the time, it''s usually the people who gives me a bad day. I can''t complain too much, my job took me around the world and I had the opportunity to internally transfer to the US for some experience.

3. What do you do and how did you get there?

I''m an auditor, I got a bachelor degree in business and majored in accounting and finance; then I got interested in the IT element that exist now in every business and did a masters degree in information systems management that my previous employer paid for. Most of my work involves talking to people about what they do, what risks their businesses face, project manage and also works through how we can fix up processes that are not working.

4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope?

Australia had a good student loan program and most university programs are reasonably priced, I believe mine was about $8000 for 3 years and I started to pay back after my income reached a certain level.

5. Did you pay for school yourselves?

Yes, my parents offered to pay, but since I didn''t listen to their advice about the scholarships, I decided not to burden them with my fees.

I think you''re going about it the right way, in terms of assessing how well you might like a profession/job and whether financially it would be sufficient to give you the lifestyle you want. In my opinion, you should always do something you like AND good at, because it will be harder when you have to compete with others for jobs/promotions. If you''re interested in further education, perhaps you can look for an employer with good training programs or educational reimbursements so you don''t have to pay for it all yourself.

Best of luck!
 

Amanda.Rx

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
903
Hey Audball. I''m sorry you''re having such an internal conflict. Sometimes knowing what to do is difficult and many people graduate having no idea what they want to do. If you''re interested in the medical field, there are a LOT of options. Having a general degree isn''t necessarily a bad thing b/c you''re not limiting yourself to a specific career. By that, you can switch to something else if you find yourself unhappy. On the other hand, not having a specific career may make you a less viable candidate for specific positions. In my opinion, your job or career doesn''t have to be your passion- you get a job/career to make your life comfortable and pay the bills. Although a great deal of your time will be spent at a job, you can find a passion in something else like family, a hobby, or volunteer work. I will be a professional when I graduate and will have a great job, but I NEVER want my career to be my #1 priority in life. I pledge to be great professional and do my job well, but it probably won''t be my #1 source of happiness or passion... ever... it''s just a job.

Have you considered other fields like psychiatry, physical therapy, pharmacy, medical imaginig, surgical assistant, nursing, laboratory... to name a few. You can always do a 2 year technical program. (granted, a 2 year associates degree may not pay as much in the end, but you''d have a clear direction without having enormous student loans). For example, you can go to pharmacy technical school, and then take an exam to become state certified. Pharmacies are always looking for state certified technicians, and they are VERY helpful!! (not entirely sure what the salary would be, though). Pharmacy can certainly be more retailed oriented (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc.) but you can also work in a hospital setting too, which is NOT at all retail oriented.... just an idea.

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?
I am a pharmacy student. My mother, father, and sister are all pharamcists, and growing up, I didn''t want to do it- I wanted to do something different. I still wanted to be in the medical field and considered many options from nursing to physical therapy to medical school and everything in betweeen. In the end, I found that pharmacy fit my "life & career goals" the best... so here I am!
2. Do you love your jobs?
I enjoy pharmacy. Right now I''m working as an intern. I think it''s a very interesting field, I''ll have my doctorate after just 6 years, I don''t have to touch people or clean out bed pans, and the job possibilities are endless! That, however, doesn''t mean that everyday at work is peachy. Some patients are rude and demanding and others are very sweet and understanding. It makes your day when you actually help someone, but it can also ruin your day when someone is nasty to you. Overall, I enjoy it. I feel that I am good at what I do and I can provide a service that is greatly needed.
3. What do you do and how did you get there?
Pharmacy school can be as short as 6 years or as long as it takes you. The prerequisties for pharamcy school are 2 years of prepharmacy classes (like anatomy, chemistry, physics, english, calculus, etc.). You also have to take the PCAT exam (which reflects your pre-pharm courses) and then apply for school. It is a very competitive process (at our school, about 700 apply and <200 are accepted).
4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope?
Pharmacy school is fairly expensive (it''ll run close to $100,000 from start to finish, depending on what school you go to), but in my opinion, it''s worth it. As a pharmacist, you make anywhere from $80,000 - $120,000 per year. Also, student loan debt is a bit more forgiving than say, credit card debt and can even been seen as a "good type" of debt.
5. Did you pay for school yourselves
I am blessed that my parents paid, but I did have a few hefty scholarships to lessen the burden for the first 4 years, so in a way, I did help.


Hope that may have helped a bit.... good luck with things! It''s OK to be confused at this point in life!
 

supergirl10

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Messages
315
Date: 2/9/2009 10:33:04 PM
Author: sammyj
Yes, I''m an OT (good memory!), but I''d like to preface my post by reminding you that I live in Canada and that schooling requirements, pay and even scope of practice may differ in the US.

Awwh sammy no wonder I like you so much. I am in my final year of my degree in Australia to become an OT


As someone else mentioned you just do your undergrad degree in Australia. So for me 4 year bachelor course. However I have been very ill for the past 8 year and have had to extend my degree over 6 years instead. I graduate in October and I couldn''t be more excited! I had to really fight to finish my degree and sometimes it was hard, but very worth it now i am so close to graduation. Have you considered OT/PT?

To answer your q''s although i''m not fullly qualified yet I have done thousands of hours of prac and I love my job with a passion. I am also a person who gets bored easily so being an OT is the perfect way to combat this, you will always be doing something different with a different person everyday and to me that is very satisfying and a major drawcard which makes up for all the study time.

WE have a government loans for higher education in Australia called HELP and my debt is probably between 20- 30 K as soon as I start earning over 36K / year the goverment takes approx $100/fortnight out of my pay until it is all payed of however long it takes. So student loans were never a concern for me, actually are very very lucky in Australia that we have this kind of help.
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
Hello ladies! Thanks for all the responses, keep them coming! I am up to date on the thread and want to respond to everyone individually, and I will try to get to that tonight. I have an exam first thing in the morning that I''m SO NOT MOTIVATED to study for, but it''s the first of this semester for this class and need to do well. I''ll check back tonight, thanks again everyone!
 

vetrik

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 6, 2008
Messages
95
I completely empathize with your situation! I just wish, as someone 7 years further down the road, I had more advice for you! I''m 28, married, pregnant, and completely happy with all facets of my life except my career. That is definitely still a work in progress.

1. So I guess my question for you all is how exactly did you decide what to do with your lives?
My whole life, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I worked as a vet tech for 7 years through high school and college, majored in pre-vet, etc. Halfway through my bachelors, I had a life crisis and didn''t want to do it anymore. I transferred schools and switched my major to English, with no idea what I wanted to do. It was so hard when my friends and I were all graduating - they mostly majored in engineering, nursing, or teaching. They knew exactly what they would be doing, and just needed to apply for jobs. I realized with just an English degree, I had no clue what to do and no set path in life.

I''ve been thinking about going back to school for 6 years. Ideally, I think I would love to be a librarian. However, sometimes I think maybe I should go back for teaching, or something in the healthcare field. That''s why I''ve put off grad school - I''m not yet sure what I want to do! Grad school seems like a huge time and money commitment if I''m not 100% sure about it - to me, it didn''t seem like something to do just to do it. I would hate to invest the time and money and then find out I didn''t like what I got my degree in.

2. Do you love your jobs?
My current job is fine, I wouldn''t say I love it. I''ve worked at a couple places where I hated it, but I do like where I currently work. How much I like my job depends very much on the working environment. I''ve never wanted my job to be my life, so for me what''s most important is that my job provides the money I need to pay the bills and is not somewhere I dread spending 8-9 hours a day. I do enjoy the legal field - I''ve never wanted to go to law school, but I wouldn''t mind getting into a different field of law as a paralegal. However, I always second guess myself. If only I''d gone to school for I could make more money, have a more stable job, have more flexible hours, etc. One of my friends mentioned above with the engineering degree HATES her job, but I envy her somewhat because she makes really good money, has flex time, really good benefits, etc. My priorities as someone who is married, has a mortgage and is starting a family are different then they were when I was 21.

3. What do you do and how did you get there?
When I graduated with my English degree, I called a temp agency, and landed in my current career - real estate paralegal. I ended up getting my paralegal certificate from a university a few years ago, and can now bill my hours like an attorney, etc. Unfortunately, real estate has been a very unstable job the last few years - very high highs, and very low lows. I''m at my fourth job in 6 years.

4. Anyone had the student loan/extreme debt realization and how did you cope?
I was lucky enough to graduate from undergrad with $2500 in student loans that were paid off within a year. DH also had no student loans. This allowed us to buy a house at 25/26, etc. A lot of my thinking about grad school is trying to decide whether I want to incur student loan debt to switch to a career that would mean starting at a salary lower than I make now. I believe thinking about the amount of debt you will incur for a degree relative to the potential salary for that career is a very wise move. Even if you love your job, a very heavy debt load can impact the decisions you have to make for the future. For some people, it''s worth it - that''s something everyone has to decide for themselves!

My baby brother is currently at a $45,000/year private college majoring in philosophy. He loves the school, but for me personally, that level of debt would scare me. It''s one thing to take out $100,000 in loans to go to med school, but quite another to graduate with $100,000 in loans and a $30,000/year salary.

5. Did you pay for school yourselves?
Other than the one small loan mentioned above, my parents paid for undergrad. I went to an out of state public university for 2 years, and then transferred to an in-state school to finish. My tuition bills were fairly low because of that - I definitely would have had student loans if I had chosen to go to a different school. Any grad school has always been my responsibilty to pay for.
 

purselover

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
2,066
Hi, just wanted to say I''ve def been there! I don''t really have any advice but I''ll answer your questions and hope it helps.

1.) I decided the field (fashion)I wanted to be in after many changed majors and different kinds of classes. I picked my job specifically after A LOT of interviews. I learned by hearing first hand what different jobs entailed exactly what I was not interested in as well as what I was interested in

2.) I loooove the job I have now, funny enough the similar job I had before made me miserable. The difference was the work environment. I started at a hard core corporate environment with crazy hours and no appreciation and moved to non profit, where I have very nice hours/time off and lots of appreciation. I realized a laid back environment is what I needed even if it made way less money, the craziness of corporate life was just not for me.

3.) I''m an assistant buyer, and I just have a 4 year degree (plus some experience), I''ve been thinking of getting an mpa or some type of grad degree, but it''s not necessary for my field.

4.) No student loans/debt

5.) No my parents paid for everything

My advice to you is this:

titles aren''t everything if you love working in a nursing home who cares about anyone else? You need to make you happy and do what you want to do, not what will impress others.

I definitely wouldn''t spend a dime on grad school if it''s not something you''re sure about, you may feel like you have to stay in a career you hate just b/c you spent a lot of money on it

It''s okay not to have your whole life planned out yet! I wouldn''t worry about going to grad school right now, I''d look for a nursing home job, or something else you think you''d enjoy just to gain experience there and try it out. Even an entry level position could teach you so much if you talk to the right people

good luck!
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
Hello again ladies! Thanks for you patience, I finally have some time to respond to everyone! My exams went well and I can finally relax for a bit, at least in my current courses!

First up, Brown.Eyed.Girl--

Thanks for the name compliment! I agree that it seems like a bad idea to pursue a PhD in this economy with lack of jobs, especially since I am ambivalent about this degree, I don''t think it''s work the extra time/stress/expense being so unsure that it''ll make me happy.

After having met with Gerontology this week (Public Health meeting is set up for next week) it seems that Public Health will provide a broader range of opportunity after graduation, so your instinct was correct. At this point in time, Gerontologists aren''t licensed and that significantly decreases job prospects. Many of the positions available want RN or SW licensure so insurance can be billed. Public Health is sounding like the right way to go so far.
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
4,946
sammyj--

Thanks for reading my post! All the information you provided for completion of the OT in Canada seems similar to what I''ve seen for here in the states. I''ve checked further into it, and USF acutally doesn''t offer the Masters (I thought they did
) but I don''t know that OT would be an exact fit for me either. I think it presents similar aspects of SLP that I didn''t enjoy.

I''m glad you see what I mean about wanting to complete school with a career and not just a job, I really want the stability that a Masters degree can offer for my future. So far, I''ve only accrued $12k in debt from my undergrad, all tuition was covered with scholarships, I just took out a small loan each semester to help cover living expenses.

Thanks so much for all your help!
 

audball

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
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babygirl--

I''m glad so many of you understand my dilemma! It does make things more difficult when S just doesn''t get why I''m so confused and undecided. He is lucky, but I think you brought up an interesting point that boys and girls do have different attitudes towards their careers. I have found much more sympathy and understanding in my path with females than males. They kind of are like, this is ok, sometimes fun, I like it, kind of mind-set.

If I go one of these other routes where I can work and go to school, I''ll be able to get tuition waivers from my job at USF to pay for 6 credits a semester (just take it slow and steady until I finished) and accrue no further debt. This would be impossible with Audiology because I wouldn''t be able to work at all, let alone full-time, and they have no part-time options. So pursuing grad school in this manner won''t increase debt in any way which Is why I''m less bothered by pursuing something right away.

I''ve also been utilizing the career center and talking to anyone and everyone who will listen. Things are starting feel like it''s more okay that I don''t know and that I''ll figure it out, hopefully sooner, rather than later, but still.

Thanks for sharing your story with me!
 
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