What occupation did you want as a child?

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When I was younger, I can remember wanting to be a school teacher. As a self-proclaimed nose-in-the-book kid, I would pretend to be a librarian at times, and other times I would pretend to “grade” a sheet of paper, and then deciding whether or not it would deserve a “star” or some sort of sticker. Perhaps I liked the idea of telling people what to do. Hehehe….

It was some time around the age of 12 or 11 that that idea changed for me, upon hearing the news of how a teacher was poisoned by their student. The student had placed some chemical in her drink, or something like that. That made me decide I did not want to risk my life at the hands of the students I was teaching. Silly if you think about it, but hey, I was 12. If it were common, teachers would be dropping like flies left and right.

The other occupation I wanted to be when I reached high school was to be a psychiatrist. I did a lot of mediation in junior high, trying to calm the waves and fights between friends and even people I wasn’t all that well acquainted. (Had I known that a such thing called a mediator existed, I would have thought that would have been a more suitable job…). I also enjoyed analyzing people, helping people out with their problems. This spilled over into high school. Taking psychology was fairly challenging as I remember, but it didn’t deter me from wanting to become a psychiatrist. Nope, it wasn’t until my biology class was brought into OHSU and had the opportunity to look at cadavers and the person there was saying that all medical students had to be able to dissect a cadaver in the first year of training that I freaked and decided that perhaps psychiatry wasn’t for me after all. Psychologists didn’t make enough money for me to decide it was worth it.

Looking back, I think I would have been overwhelmed by being a teacher. Then again, perhaps younger kids would have been more fun, but looking at how quickly young kids grow up, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much as I would have thought I would. Having tutored a bit in junior high and volunteering with kids and helping them improve their reading skills, teaching can be a very satisfactory experience albeit frustrating along the way. As for psychiatry, I don’t think I would have difficulty prescribing medicine for others, but listening to people’s problems – which were at one time, my forte, is definitely not my forte anymore. I can no longer handle listening to them for hours on end. I suspect their problems would end up being my problems, therefore giving me stress and finding it to difficult to sleep on most evenings. Then again, it would probably give me the perspective that I have little to no problems if I were to listen to everyone’s mental issues for the rest of my life. It would be satisfying, but potentially dangerous for the psyche.

I do think that teaching probably would have been more suitable than psychiatry would have been for me. It would have allowed me to be a bit more creative, since my strong suits used to be math and art, of which I use little of these days. (More the art than the math.)

What did you want to be when you were a child?

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