Life announcement + “heavy” professions

Boy, do I have a lot to tell you all.

I think I announced a while ago that my life was, once again, changing pretty drastically. That I was in a transitional period, getting ready for a new life, as it were.

Well, everyone – at long last, here it is:

I’M GOING BACK TO GRAD SCHOOL!

That’s right. Me, a student again!

I have officially been accepted into the Masters of Science in Counseling program at Cal State Fullerton and will go back in mid-August of this year. It’s a three-year program, which means that I’ll be starting an entirely new career as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) at the age of 30 and I couldn’t be more excited.

Now, if you know me, you’re probably not terribly shocked at me finally arriving at this career choice, but for those of you who don’t know me, it might be helpful to know and, dare I say, somewhat motivating for those of you still figuring it out? Here’s a (curt) summary below.

Didn’t know what I wanted to be for most of my life. Wanted to act and model as a youngin but my parents weren’t 100% stoked on that idea so I abandoned it. Knew roughly that I wanted to “make money” in high school. Dad’s an accountant and it was 2008 so I went to college for accounting while going through the following major progression: accounting>philosophy (thought I wanted to be a lawyer)>biology (thought I wanted to be a doctor until I remembered, oh yeah, I have severe emetophobia and can’t even look at a sewing needle without getting heart palpitations)>marketing (because it sounded “fun”)>accounting. Finished my B.S. (no, not that kind of B.S.) degree in 2012. Completed my Masters in Accounting in 2013 because it gave me credits for the CPA exam. Worked at a BIG accounting firm until 2015. Also got my CPA license then. Quit because I wanted to do something that was more focused on “people” problems and less on data. Took a little over a year to figure out that I wanted to help people professionally. Applied to grad school. Now I’m here.

What’s missing here is the sheer amount of angst and anxiety that went into figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, but that’s for another entry.

It took me a long time to get the bravery to even think about going back to school again, especially since I am the first to admit that my parents helped me through school and I have a massive sense of guilt about not sticking with accounting. It’s not that I think my degree or license are useless in any way – on the contrary, I think they’ll help me immensely in private practice. It’s just that accounting as a profession isn’t for me. It’s for many people, and I can see why many people love it. It’s just not for me, and hopefully the fact that I have not one, but two degrees in the subject doesn’t make me seem like a fraud for saying that.

I’m excited to go back and start this journey. I’m a super sensitive, compassionate person, a great listener, and a great thinker, if I do say so myself, and having volunteered as a crisis hotline worker for a few months now (and having volunteered in other capacities for years), I think I have a real knack for helping people. But of course, I do get the odd inquiries of…

But won’t that make you sad?

Won’t you get sick of listening to peoples’ problems all day?

I don’t know, doesn’t that job seem just a little…heavy?

I hear you. I get it.

But let me tell you: if I’m gonna choose between helping people in real trouble or my temporary feelings of discomfort, I’m going to choose to help people.

Because I’ve been there.

I’ve struggled with mental illness my whole life. It’s still something I have to manage. And let me tell you, it is not for the faint of heart. My therapists over the years have helped immensely and I credit much of my success to their guidance.

In a way, I think of it as me paying it forward.

Yes, having to keep it together to help people is hard. And yes, hearing unfortunate or non-ideal stories day in and day out has an effect on you. But for whatever reason, there’s a part of me that can step outside for a moment and at least try to help. I’m not patting myself on the back for this. It’s just what I want to do. It’s just how I want to live. It’s what i want my name attached to.

I’m sure doctors, nurses, social workers, volunteers, massage therapists, and plenty of other people hear from other people about how “hard” their jobs must be all the time. Hell, as mentioned above, I could never do some of these jobs. It’s not my skill set, not my strength. But someone has to do these jobs. And there are so many people willing to do them.

Which is freaking awesome.

So, in conclusion, I’m here. I’m doing this. I have no clue what the next few years will truly bring, but I thank you all for sticking with me, supporting me, and being generally awesome. Thank you.

-H