I've been tantalizing and frustrating certain family members this week by my insuations that I will be experiencing a transformative "life event." I guess I've done all that because it's always good to have a little mystery in life, isn't it? I wanted to throw some intrigue out there, and make people wonder what I was up to. Frankly, it's extremely heartening to know that there are people out there who are interested in my life and what to know what I'm up to.
But of course, I never meant to turn this whole thing into some kind of teaste.. I was going to tell you all eventually, and the sooner the better. I mean, I don't want my life to turn into a Lost episode or something where everyone's wondering, what's going to happen next? How crazy would that kind of life be. Brownie is chased by the smoke monster! Brownie finds a white stone and a black stone! Brownie blows up a submarine! Brownie wins millions of dollars! Okay, that would last one would be rather great, but still... you get the drift.
So now, let me tell you what all this talk has been about.
Ever since I was young lad, I knew I wanted to grow up and help people in some way. I became fascinated by the work of a very-extended family member... the relative of a relative of a relative. Cincy Sister, you know who I'm talking about. He worked as a counselor at my school, but I never had any interactions with him that way. Still, I was fascinated with the idea of sitting down and talking with people to help them sort out their problems.
So I entered college and did an extremely rare thing: I graduated with the major I initially declared. Psychology. I knew of course that there weren't piles of money to be made in the psychology field, but that wasn't why I got into it. I wanted to help people, and I thought that this would be a fine method for doing so. I went straight from four years of undergrad to two years of graduate school work, finishing a master's in mental health counseling before I turned 24.
Looking back, I think, Good grief I was so young. Why was I so sure of myself? How did I decide that this would be good work to do? And most importantly, why did I think I was doing myself any favors by working in a field that's becoming increasingly unstable? The truth is that health insurance - managed care, as we like to say in the biz - has made this field more unstable. People in private practice have found it difficult to support themselves because insurance companies aren't willing to pay for more than a limited number of sessions (usually 6-12), and so have turned to seemingly more stable jobs within a community mental health center (CMHC's). However, the CMHC's are taking pages from the business world and increasingly focusing on productivity - if a counselor isn't seeing enough clients, she could lose her job. A counselor can't count on others to "pick up the slack," as has been done in the past.
I considered my options. I thought of applying for Ph.D. programs in psychology. I talked with several people who had done this very thing, and learned that they weren't making that much more money than I was (who had only a lowly M.S. to follow my name). I wanted to stay in the healthcare field, because I still had - and have to this day - a strong desire to assist other people. I thought of med school, but soon dismissed the idea because it would consume too many years of blood, sweat, and tears. After all, I have a family, and most of the time they enjoy having me around.
What to do? A few years back, The Wife and I came upon a plan - I would stay in the healthcare field, but build upon the exeriences I already had. I would plunge into a field that's continually growing and in need of more people. I would enter a nursing program and become a Registered Nurse.
I've taken the first step. I'm currently enrolled in two classes, Human Anatomy and Lifespan Development, at IUPUI. Yes, I'm a college student once again. Slightly older, slightly bulkier, slightly less fresh-faced, but a student nonetheless.
I'm up for the challange. I'm ready to go.