There is so much that has been in my head since grad school started to really attack my mental health. I dreaded Mondays, but I looked forward to my days at the ACS office. I cried far too much and lost far too sleep as I thought of every single little detail to please the requirements for my research professor’s class. I had panic attacks thinking of “what’s next” after graduation, as everyone asked what was next (no shit to get a job, hopefully one I love); I endlessly worried where I would actually get a job, whether I’d still be in Raleigh; I grew scared as I heard more people in my cohort find jobs before graduation, while I still remain anxious yet unmotivated to sit and deal with all the individualized cover letters I need to write for all the job postings I like. Plus, I know there’s more rejection than anything else in this process if I’m honest.
In my time in Chile, I’ve come to see how wasteful it feels to search ‘diabetes’ related jobs when the majority of those jobs are strictly for registered nurses, dietitians, and other medical professions that have their certified diabetes education certification. It’s made me so angry to see the random progression of what I call my “education.” I went to college and got my BA in Political Science (I still don’t know why) and I immediately went to get my Masters in Social Work, when I really should have done something in nutrition and health for my undergrad. I was always good with that kind of thing and getting diagnosed as a T1D simultaneously made me better at it. Yet, my denial and frustration with my disease approximately 6-8 years ago, pushed me further away from the idea of engaging with anything health-related. Such a hard-headed little fool then and how I wish I had been more open minded and thoughtful of those choices.
It was through my Masters program that I immediately learned that I had always embraced the side of health promotions, education, nutrition, and maybe even a little bit of biology. Being in La Clinica Alemana de Temuco for the last week has made me even more convinced that I should have studied some kind of allied health career. Seeing all the kind medical staff being so attentive to my aunt has made me think that I could have been one of those ladies–I mean, I kicked ass in my high school Allied Health classes and for some stupid reason, I didn’t continue to getting CNA.
Of course, beating myself up over a past I cannot change isn’t the most ideal thing to do either, but I still have no freaking clue what the hell I’m meant to do now. I thought social work would be it-my answer to what I wanted to focus in for a career, but instead I also found that I love public health, nutrition, research, data, program management, and education. I know I shouldn’t feel as if I haven’t gained experience, but I honesty don’t even know what to focus on anymore. Part of me already wants to continue doing school, but maybe because that’s what I feel most comfortable with and there are so many more learning opportunities you can gain just by being a student.
I have limited experience with many different things and far too many topics have my interest. I’ve never known how to mesh all of them (or most of them) and now, the last thing I know is how to even begin looking for a job that could hold most of my interests altogether. Part of me doesn’t want to settle on a job that I will grow to dislike, just to pay bills. My life is worth much more than having a sucky job to pay bills and, I didn’t put myself into so much debt to do something I won’t love. So, I already know my job search is going to be hard and probably take more time than some of my cohort friends. But in the end, I pray and hope it will all be worth it.