Thursday, September 15, 2011

What do I want to be when I grow up?

As you probably guessed from the title of this post, I wanted to talk a little bit today about how I ended up making the decision to go back to school, and what I use to make the process a little easier when I'm there every day. (This is one of those posts that I've been procrastinating, so I'm amazed that I'm actually going to start it tonight. Look at me go!)

As a child, I used to tell anyone that would listen that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I have loved animals from a very young age, so this was not a difficult choice for me to make. As I got a little bit older, however, I started to realize how difficult becoming a veterinarian would actually be. Years upon years of school, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars... needless to say, I put the thought of becoming a vet out of my head once I realized this.
When I graduated in 2008 I hummed and hawed over what I wanted to do with my life. Did I want to go straight into post secondary education, or did I want to work for awhile to make some money? Being that I had no idea what I'd want to go to school to take at that point, working was the logical choice. I was already working at my present-day job at that point, so I decided to accept a full-time position there. I moved up the ladder at the store and was soon promoted to department manager. Cue to about 2 and a half years later... and I was bored. I knew how to do my job (and everything that that entailed) so thoroughly that I could probably do it in my sleep, and I was no longer challenged by it. I was tired of the drama, tired of the customers, just plain tired of working retail in general.
I halfheartedly searched for other jobs that I thought might be a better fit for me, but school was always sort of in the back of my mind. My problem was that I still had no idea what I wanted to do. Did I want to be a sonogram technician? That might be kind of fun... but nah. Did I want to go to culinary school? I do love to cook and bake, but... I think that's more of a hobby for me than a career.

The next logical step was to browse online. There are a couple of main post secondary institutions here in Edmonton. The first being the University of Alberta. The University seemed a little... I don't know, too "big time" for me. I wasn't interested in being a lawyer, or a doctor, or anything like that. I just wanted to go back for a year or two, become more educated, and find myself a career. So I passed over that school pretty quickly.
The second school that came to mind was the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. I knew that NAIT focused a lot on the trades (carpentry, plumbing, automotives, etc), and that they offered some great culinary programs, but beyond that I didn't have much knowledge on what else they had to offer. Not really knowing where to start on their website, I typed into the search bar the first thing that popped into my head: veterinary.
That's when fate came down and hit me on the head. (No? Too cheesy? Shucks.)

The first program to pop up was the Veterinary Medical Assistant program. It immediately caught my eye and, clicking on the link, I was presented with two key pieces of information: this program was only one year in length, and it would provide me with the necessary skills to run the front desk in a veterinary clinic, as well as perform many basic and hands-on veterinary skills.
I read through as much information as I could on the program. Then I sat back, and I thought about where my life was going to take me if I just closed the internet window and went on with my job. The answer? Nowhere. I was going to remain just as unhappy and unfulfilled as I was at that moment. Sure, nothing scary or intimidating would come along. I wouldn't have to take any chances. But was that really what I wanted?
Before I could think about it for even another second, I had already clicked on the 'apply for program' link. Half an hour later my application was filled out and submitted. The application process was not an easy one (nor was it cheap... I shudder every time I think about it), but I've been accepted into the program since January.

I won't lie to you and tell you that I haven't had my doubts along the way. Through the last nine months of trying to find the money to pay for my tuition, my parking pass, my books, my school supplies, my clinic clothing, and everything else, I HAVE thought about backing out. But now that I have started the program, I am so glad that I didn't. I am so glad that I am taking a chance, being brave, and becoming the person that I have known for so long I wanted to become. I may be taken out of my comfort zone a lot this year and in the years to follow, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Because I know I can handle all of that, and so much more.
I love animals, and I cannot wait to see where this takes me. And to take you all on this journey with me. :)

Now to show you all of the things that have helped me navigate student life:

My laptop

This thing has honestly been a lifesaver, I swear. Perfect for taking along to school and connecting wirelessly for study purposes, or you can set up a study base on the couch with this bad boy like I do, and have a place to complete assignments quickly and easily (wishful thinking?)

USB stick

Look how cute that is! USB sticks come in handy for such a wide variety of uses. Obviously they're great to save assignments that you might be working on at school (that way you can bring the USB home and have assignments readily available to you there as well), or you can even use them to save hundreds of pictures and videos! Plus who wouldn't want something that comes in so many fun shapes and designs?!

Veterinary Terminology

For those people who might be interested in veterinary medicine (or know someone who is), this is a great beginners guide to anatomy and terminology.

Lunch Kit

Can you believe that this in a lunch kit?! I know, neither could I when I first saw them! I don't have this exact one, but seriously. Coolest invention ever. These things are thermo-insulated on the inside, so they will keep your food cold and/or hot, plus they're cuter than a lot of purses that I see out there! Buy one of these. Now.

Day Planner

My day planner has been a GODSEND in the mere week since my classes have started. It gives me the pretense that my insane life is organized, even when it is so far from that. Keep yours on you at all times (trust me).

COFFEE! (Err, I mean... coffee mug)

I love these cups. They give you the feeling that you got your typical to-go coffee in the morning, when they're actually completely reusable and, thus... environmentally friendly!

I know I haven't even BEGUN to cover everything that a person needs to survive in school, or how I even got into school in the first place, for that matter. But I hope it's at least a start, so that I can help make all of YOUR lives a little easier. And I will be back with more detail on this in the not-so-far future. Promise.

Now I encourage you all to figure out what you want to be when YOU grow up. :)

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