“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s the question we are asked from the simple age of 5. I wanted to be a mermaid, I was going to be a mermaid. Then I thought ‘Actually, I’d rather be a fairy’… I was going to be a fairy. No one told me I couldn’t do this. Then I went to school.Once you start school, you’re asked again “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, however, this time a mermaid or fairy is not an acceptable answer. For some reason you’re expected to give a mature answer when it’s a teacher that asks this question. I wanted to be a vet. I love animals and wanted to help them. This answer appeased my teacher, and I was left alone for a while.
When I went into secondary school at the mere age of 12, I was asked again. This time I had to be realistic. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to share knowledge with children and teach them things about the world around us. Good answer, Ciara. I was left alone with this answer for the remainder of the year. Secondary school was different, though. I was asked the same question the following year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and every year up until my 7th year, then I had to make the decision for real.
I stuck with the whole ‘teacher’ thing for 5 years. I was committed to it. I told my family that’s what I wanted to be. I told my friends that’s what I wanted to be. I told my teachers that’s what I wanted to be. It turns out, that is not what I wanted to be.
A careers advisor by the name of Eileen came into my school one day and interviewed each of us separately. I came out of my interview wanting to move to Chicago to open a book store. I don’t know how this happened, but this was now what I wanted to do.
After seeking help for my mental health, I changed my tune again. I had a bad experience with the NHS when trying to get help. Mental health simply isn’t as important to them as physical health. I was given 6 therapy sessions and sent on my way. I felt that they had just swept me under the rug. I wanted to be a mental health nurse from that moment on. I wanted to make sure people got the help that they needed, and no one was left feeling as though even healthcare professionals don’t care.
I applied for university this year. You get 5 choices when you apply through UCAS and I chose 3 mental health nursing courses, 1 business management course and 1 human resource management course. I guess a part of me still wanted to open my own store. I was declined from 2 of the nursing courses due to lack of experience in the caring sector and the vast number of people who applied this year. I was accepted for an interview at Queen’s university for my final nursing course, but withdrew myself because I don’t want to be a nurse anymore.
The truth is, I still don’t know what I want to be. It’s ridiculous to ask a teenager to make the most important decision of their life when they still have to ask permission to go to the toilet. I don’t think I’ll ever know what I want to do with myself. I don’t know where my life is going; that’s okay. I don’t have to know what I want to do with myself. I just have to do something that will make me happy.
There is a quote that I love: “If your job involves doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life.” It’s easy to accept a job that pays well for the sake of earning a good income, but money is not the be-all and end-all. I’m not saying it isn’t important, I’m just saying it isn’t what’s most important.
Until next time…