Like most people, My plans for what I wanted to be “when I grow up” changed many times over the years. I don’t remember policeman, astronaut or firefighter ever being on the list, but rock star and cowboy certainly were. Bounty hunter or private detective remained aspirations until around 7th grade when I decided my future lay in soap opera acting.
Upon reaching high school my plans grew slightly more realistic. I made preliminary inquiries into what was required to attend West Point, the United States Military Academy, until a weekend spent on campus talking to Cadets led me to evaluate my level of discipline and find it lacking. Dissuaded from seeking a leadership position in an organization of over one million people, I naturally decided to instead apply to the University of Maine and live a life of isolation as a forest ranger. That didn’t last long either.
It will be interesting to hear the different career paths that the five year old considers over the years. She seems to have given up the idea of “superhero ballerina”, but rock star is still a consideration. She remains determined to help people, which I love, and has recently added hairdresser and librarian to her list, as she feels “everyone loves a good haircut and having books given to them.” It’s pretty solid logic.
For the teenager, however, “when I grow up” is a time that is fast approaching. It’s been a bumpy ride but graduation from high school will be upon us soon. Decisions about what the next chapter in her life will be are going to have to be made soon. Afraid that she may not realize this and growing frustrated with our communication lately being limited to text messages to her room when dinner was ready, I used my secret teenager trap to lure her out and force her to sit down and talk for a bit. I took her out for wings.
It seemed a productive chat. She assures me that she is on pace to graduate and that she has a plan. She wants to be a veterinary technician, a nurse for animals.
It’s not the worst idea that she has ever had. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, our state is predicted to have 19% job growth in that profession between now and 2024. There is no state required professional credentialing, so further schooling wouldn’t necessarily be required, though it would greatly improve her hiring desirability . Entry level salary of $26,000, with a mean of 37,850, won’t make her rich but it would keep her fed.
She won’t qualify academically for either of the two in-state schools that offer certification programs, but there are on-line classes that she can take to start. Some sort of employment will be mandatory and maybe something else will inspire her. Something besides “rock star astronaut” hopefully.