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  • Writer's pictureKaterina

What Is My Dream Career?

At nineteen, I was in another semester at a local community college. I felt lost, unsure as I didn't have any clear direction of where to transfer or a possible career. I was still adjusting to chronic pain and a disability.

For me, I always thought my career path would be in education. I wanted to be a teacher for elementary-age children. Some of this passion came from volunteering at my church. I loved seeing how excited they were to learn, grow, and their creativity. Children have this kind of energy and joy that is contagious. Even growing up, I always felt a passion for helping others. My dream of teaching came from these experiences. What I didn't plan was a diagnosis of a neuromuscular disease. 

When my CMT continued to progress during my later teenage years, I felt that dream start to slip away. I didn't know what to do if it wasn't teaching. That is until I heard about Child Life back in 2019. It was all thanks to my mom. She was reading a blog post, a day in the life of a child life specialist, and thought I should look into this career. This field would combine my love for working with children, aspects of creativity, and my desire to make a difference for others living with chronic illness.

I didn't know that a field like this existed until that moment. 

Before, I explain further, you might be wondering, what is a child life specialist?

These are specialists who support patients and families as they face the stresses of being in a medical setting (like a hospital). They educate, provide resources, coping tools, preparations for treatment, distractions, and opportunities for play. They also work closely with the medical team. This is a growing field that is making an impact on children facing illness and families. 

If you want to learn more, check out The Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP). 

As a young adult living with health challenges and a disability, I felt drawn to this as a possible career. I know firsthand the struggles of being in a medical setting, the stresses, anxiety, sitting through painful tests, and waiting for a diagnosis. I know what it's like for the siblings who watch a brother or sister endure physical pain. I've seen the concern and worry in my parents who would do anything to take away this pain. 

After talking about this with a friend, she shared about a university that offered child life as a concentration. I would major in psychology and then take a handful of courses required for this field. After visiting the campus a few months later, I knew this was meant to be.

Now, it's been a year since I graduated with my bachelor's in psychology. I'm grateful to be in a season where I can continue working and taking online courses required for this field. I know God will lead the way even as I face uncertainty with my health. It may not be in my timing, but I look forward to the day of working in a medical setting, helping other chronically ill children and their families.

Until then, I'm going to continue dreaming, learning, and working hard.

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