Day Twenty - Beyond Avoidance - What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy, or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)
Ever since I was in grad school, I've been interested in genetics counseling. We had a speaker come to one of our classes to tell us about it, and I was instantly intrigued. Of course, at that point, I was in my last semester, about 2 months away from completing my MSW, and had absolutely no interest in continuing my education. I had been in college for 4.5 years, plus 12 months of grad school. I was dunzo. I finished grad school, moved home, worked for a family friend for 2 years, moved to Philly, and have been at my current job for 4 years. All that time, I've never forgotten about genetics counseling. About a year ago, I found out that one of the 13 schools in the country that has a genetics counseling program is about 2 miles from our house. I know, right?!?!
So I went to an information session. It's a full-time, 2-year program. No option for part-time. I was ridiculously disappointed. For one thing, full time means I'd have to quit my job. The job that pays 100% tuition - up front. Which means I'd have to take out loans - about $50K. On top of the $25K I still owe for grad school? That's a lot of debt. I don't want that much debt. It also means that we'd be living on Matt's salary alone for 2 years. We could do it, but it'd be uncomfortable. And Matt's job is not exactly...stable. Over the past 3 years, he's gotten no raises, and in fact got a pay cut, and off and on he's been reduced to 32-hour weeks. It's been rough, to say the least. So the idea that we'd be living on his salary, and he could (in theory) lose his job any day, is absolutely terrifying. Plus, it's 2 years for the program alone. Just to get accepted, I'd have to take several prerequisite classes. All told, I'd be looking at about 4-5 years of school. That's a long time. That means we couldn't start a family for 4-5 years (cuz you know I'm not trying to have a baby while I'm in school!). Oh, and also - it's a lot of science. I mean, hello, genetics counseling. Biology, chemistry, genetics...whoa.
I found out through one of my coworkers that there are genetics counselors at our hospital. I told myself (and Matt and my mom and my sister and...) that I would spend a day shadowing one of them. You know, to find out if I actually like the job. I even went as far as calling one of them to find out if I could do that. But I never called back to schedule.
Here's the deal. The real sitch. What it really boils down to is 2 things:
1 - I'm pretty sure I wouldn't actually like the job. I mean, it'd be interesting. But I'm pretty sure I'd be uncomfortable. In my 5+ years of work, I've discovered that I don't really like interacting on a face-to-face basis. I prefer to meet with the patient/family once, find out what they want, set it up, and send them off. It's unbelievably difficult for me to admit that. I cannot even tell you how much that hurts. So, needless to say, face-to-face interaction with people facing major decisions? Umm...yikes.
2 - Matt and I want to start a family. Sooner than 4-5 years from now. I'm not willing to wait that long. Matt, ever the supportive husband, says, "We'll do what it takes, if you're happy." But I wouldn't be. I want babies. More than I want a job that (see #1) I'm fairly certain still wouldn't make me happy.
So that's that. That's all there is to it. That's why I didn't do it. And why I probably won't.