I spoke to a career adviser who said I should think about becoming a mental health nurse. Huh? Wha..? Did he miss the memo? How can he possibly not know that I plan to hit the ground running after I get my BSc? Get my year of experience in my last year of studying, and apply for that incredibly competitive and hard to get into PhD course as soon as I have my degree in hand, thank you VERY much!
Mental Health Nurse, inDEED.
Of course it’s easy to talk like that. And as soon as I was off the phone, I googled “mental health nurse”. It would mean three more years of study, but I’d be employed by the health service, getting a salary and my education paid for. Job security. In an area that fascinates me. With two BSc’s and plenty of good solid experience in the field of mental health, certainly I’d be a shoe in for the PhD course if I decided to apply for it at a later date.
But, this wasn’t my plan. Does changing my plans admit defeat? Food for thought, I suppose.
Many years ago I fell in love with a book called “Abnormal Psychology”, on the cover was a picture of a chair with small flames in the middle of it, insinuating spontaneous combustion. I had by that time decided I was going to be a Clinical Psychologist and learn all about abnormal psychology. I convinced my parents to buy this book and I eagerly took it home, flopped down on my bed and opened it up. Only to realize that I couldn’t understand a single word of it.
That was the last time I opened that book, but each time I have packed my belongings in preparation for someplace new, it has come with me. When I came across it in a box some time ago, having not thought about it in years, my mind immediately traveled back to that day so long ago when I had excitedly cracked open this university research text and expected knowledge to descend like a ray of light. I laughed at my pre-teen self and placed the book on my favorite bookshelf, promising to look at it soon.
Tonight I was writing an essay about schizophrenia and remembered this book, on a shelf above me. I reached up, plucked it off the shelf and flipped through it. The yellowed pages, puffiness from many a damp garage and the vaguely ceder smell of age struck me right in the centre of my sense of nostalgia and intrinsic meaning.
I flipped to the index, located the section on schizophrenia, and began to read through it. I quickly realized the significance and felt a pinprick of tears as I nodded my head in understanding, shook my head in disagreement and chuckled in amusement at how just 20 years ago, they didn’t know a fraction of what they know now.
I may never become a clinical psychologist. But, having gotten to a point where I felt indeed knowledgeable about a subject of this book, which I was once so awed and intimidated by, is a sense of accomplishment I had not felt until now.
As those around me try to convince me that I am doing to much, expecting to much of myself, that it is to hard, and I have to much to do, implying in their kind and sympathetic way that I can not handle it and will fail- I know that I must continue to stick with it.
I can not deny my children that same small sense of accomplishment and achievement simply because I quit when it became to hard.