As young people, we are expected to graduate high school and randomly pick a profession that we hope we will love for the rest of our lives. It’s crazy, isn’t it?
I was often asked questions like, “What do you want to do with your life?” It is easier to ask this question than it is to figure out the answer. That’s the struggle I faced and I know a lot of high-schoolers still face it today.
I envied the people who had it all figured out. Don’t we all?
Growing up, I always thought I would be a geologist. I was one of those crazy rock girls who collected rocks wherever I went. But as I got older, my interest in rocks faded, along with some other things.
One thing that didn’t fade was my want to serve people. I have always had this strong desire to improve other people’s lives as well as my own.
When I was 19, I enlisted in the Navy. I quickly realized that the military life was not for me. After some long late nights, a couple of tears, and some hugs from loved ones, I sat down again and thought about what I should do next. The next week, I applied for admission to Ohio University and began my mission to become a nurse.
Once I was in the nursing program, I finally thought I was in the right place. Yet, I simply didn’t “love” it like I thought I was supposed to. Don’t get me wrong, it was okay. I learned a lot and made some incredible friends, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing it for the rest of my life.
It seemed like it was easier to figure out what I didn’t want to do than what I did. That’s when I found occupational therapy.
My best friend is a certified occupational therapy assistant and has raved about it for years, but I never gave her a full listen about why she loves it. I did a lot of research and quickly fell in love with the core values of OT.
After moving to Salt Lake City from a small farm town in Ohio, I applied to the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Salt Lake Community College and got in! I began my first semester in the fall of 2017 and I quickly fell in love.
Every day we learned something new and exciting, whether it be techniques to help a client who had a stroke learn to pull up their pants again, or sensory ideas to help a child overcome the fear of sticky objects. I have never been so excited to wake up and learn a day in my life.
The American Occupational Therapy Association says it perfectly: “Occupational therapy practitioners ask, ‘What matters to you?’ not, ‘What’s the matter with you?'”
This profession allows me to be creative and patient. I’m now in my second semester and I wake up happy with what I am doing every day. That’s how it should be.
It’s been a journey with a lot of bumps along the way, but I can now say with full confidence that I really love the career path I have chosen.
As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Here is some advice to help you on your path of finding a career path you love:
- Find out what motivates you.
- Find out what does not motivate you.
- Don’t compromise.
You’re not alone when you feel lost in the crazy journey of finding a career path. Think about what is meaningful for you, what makes you want to get up in the morning, what you can’t stop thinking about, and most importantly what you don’t want for yourself. Take your time, don’t rush, and do what makes you happy.