Back to school
One of many big decisions I have made this year is going back to school, or for my non-North American friends, University. Apparently when I call it ‘school’ when speaking to my British counterparts, it implies I am literally going to be the thirty year old amongst a bunch of eleven year olds! Admittedly, my timing could be better but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and decided that if I don’t do it now, I never will.
We became Permanent Residents in Canada last year (yay!), which was no easy task! I spent about four or five years in jobs that would enable us to achieve it and we were successful. However, I never felt that those jobs had as much meaning as my 15-yr-old self imagined my career would have. Now as Permanent Residents, we are in a position to actually do what we want to do (within reason). So I went back to the drawing board, which was fairly daunting in itself.
Why Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine
Having lived and attended school in Hong Kong as a child, I was introduced to Chinese Medicine from an early age. My mother in particular is a big advocate of alternatives to pharmaceuticals (including acupuncture) for various issues (obviously if you need first aid or surgery, get your ass to hospital). I then lived and worked in Beijing briefly in my twenties and visited my dad, who had returned to HK for another eight years. As such, when I suffered from anxiety and insomnia, acupuncture was my first port of call, with excellent results.
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.” – Steve Harvey
So it came as no shock to my mum that I decided to pursue this career. I want something that is intellectually challenging, something that I can add value to, where I get home at the end of the day and feel like I’ve done something meaningful and lastly, something where I am constantly learning. I want to pursue research in the field, convince the sceptics and write papers and books on it. The whole thing fascinates me!
‘Aren’t you worried you’re too old…?’
I have come to terms with the fact that I have turned thirty. I was literally being ridiculous; thirty is not old! Your great granny is old. I am not. My decision has been met with various reactions. First and foremost, they have been supportive. But I did have the usual concerned comments:
‘but you’re buying a house?’
Yes, admittedly my timing could be better. But I’ve got the opportunity to do this now and I’d be damned if I’m going to let this opportunity slip through my fingers. We will make it work. And I mean that.
‘but you literally live on a mountain!?’
True ‘dat. But if that was my excuse for everything then I wouldn’t do anything (apart from ski that is). So for the sake of a little travel, I’m willing to have my little city fix.
‘but you’re thirty?’
‘but I thought you wanted to be a lawyer?’
Quite frankly, I wanted to be an international spy when I started my degree in International Law. I also procrastinated like a b*tch when it came to applying for training contracts. Deep down, I didn’t want to be a solicitor. And you know what, had I been, I very much doubt I would have decided to leave it and pursue Chinese Medicine and research in this field. I’d probably have stuck with it and yes, I would have found my thing and enjoyed it, but I’m mighty glad I’ve had the past six years to really hone down, try out various things (I’ve had LOTS of jobs!) and work out what it truly is that I want to do with my life.
I actually think I’m better prepared for studying this time around. I am much better prepared mentally and I’ve done so much travelling (although don’t get me wrong, I am far from done!) and perfected my beer pong game so I can finally focus. I’ve also got on top of my time management skills, which will be even more vital this time around, considering I have all my other commitments going on.
Never too old
I’m not going to pretend that I’m not a wee bitty daunted about going back to school at thirty as I do have numerous more responsibilities and commitments compared to when I was last at school (understatement of the year). However, people do it with families, children and at all ages. However, I am going to toot my own horn here and admit that I am very proud of myself as I think it is a brave thing to do at this stage in my life. I am also very lucky to have such a supportive fiancé. I am essentially starting over at thirty whilst the majority of my friends are excelling at the prime of their careers, whilst I’m getting excited about buying a new pencil case…! The stationary section of a shop is, and always will be, my favourite part of the store.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
I am sure I am not alone in this and I would love to hear from anybody who has gone back to school at a later stage or gone for a complete career change 🙂