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Pursue Your Passion

Growing up, when you imagined what life would be like when you were twenty-five, images of a wedding, children, a big backyard with a fluffy dog running around, and a steady job all came to mind (at least they did in my fantasy-filled little brain). The reality is, I still feel like a kid on most days. The only image little Jen predicted correctly was the fluffy dog, but he’s running around our small one-bedroom apartment instead of the big fantasy backyard.

Life is unpredictable, and that’s okay.

At twenty-one years old, I had graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Psychology. I thought I might have an idea of what I wanted to do post-graduation, but honestly… I had no earthly idea. I imagined a career where I could positively impact the lives of children, but I had a Psychology degree. I didn’t want to be a psychologist. Or a teacher. So what did I do? What any sensible young adult would do, of course. I entered into an impossible job market hoping any place would hire me so I could start paying off my debt  [tuition ain’t cheap, ya know]. After a year of paying rent to live in my former college town, working a job that I dreaded every day, I made the decision to move back home so I could save some money and figure out what in the world I was going to do with my life.

I was scared to death and embarrassed of my “failure”.

I found a job where I was pretty happy. Mostly because my co-workers became my second family and I made good money pretty quickly. Yes, at twenty-three years old, with a Bachelor’s degree, I was a waitress. Life kept happening, time kept passing, and I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”. I applied for several jobs in several different cities, and I finally had an interview with a company doing something I would have been completely terrible at. And then I got a second interview. The day of my second interview, while browsing for jobs in Louisville, Kentucky, I saw a posting for a job as a child life specialist. I was curious, I had never heard of it. Of course, I wasn’t qualified for the position, but to satisfy my curiosity I started doing a little digging. After finding the Child Life Council’s Website and talking with a close friend who worked as a nurse at the hospital that had posted the position, I just knew.

Long story short – I decided to follow my gut. I had a strong intuition that I was onto something that would be life-altering. Terrifying? Yes. I made the decision that a second Bachelor’s degree was the right decision for me at that point in my life as opposed to a Master’s degree. My heart was pulling me in one direction and I decided to follow.

Was I crazy? Possibly. It’s been quite an adventure, and I am so happy to have found not only a career path I am passionate about, but an incredible program to teach me everything I need to learn to get there.

2 thoughts on “Pursue Your Passion

  1. Stumbled upon your blog today doing research as I begin my practicum applications for this summer. I’m a Junior at UK right now and your posts have been so encouraging to read! I’m a Family Science major and decided last year that Child Life is for me. Ever since then I’ve been doing research and beginning the process of jumping through hoops to make this dream a reality. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, Kaitlin! Sorry I’m just now seeing this – I’ve taken a break during my internship from my blog. I’m so excited for you, and thank you for reading my posts! I wish I had found child life earlier on in my schooling but I’m so happy that you did! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about anything along the way – it can be confusing if you don’t have someone that has been through it helping you out. My e-mail is jtlee6@g.uky.edu. PS, GO CATS 🙂

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