So today’s My Renaissance Blog Challenge asks us about what we wanted to be when we were a child. This one is easy for me, but when I think about it I’m actually sad that I never got (or took) the opportunity to do what I wanted to do.
What did you want to be when you were little? Do you remember why you wanted to be that?
I have a very vivid memory of our grade 7 guidance counselor asking us each in turn what we planned on doing when we finished high school (I think the point of the exercise was to determine which additional subjects we needed to take in high school the following year).
My immediate answer, without hesitation, was:
a) a wildlife vet
b) a wildlife photographer
c) a game ranger
I wanted to be an active member of society taking on the task of caring for our natural wildlife resources in South Africa. I wanted to care for and protect our heritage.
Unfortunately there wasn’t money to study veterinarian science after school. Also, my grades weren’t high enough (although by today’s standards I would have qualified for a university entrance). And the saddest part for me – when I told my mom my dreams of becoming a vet she told me I couldn’t do it. Because I’m a girl and I wouldn’t even get into vet school so I should think about doing something else. When I was told I couldn’t do it, my response was “why bother studying then”. I took all the right subjects, but I never applied myself because I didn’t have the support and motivation to do it. Maybe I was weak in just giving up, but all I really wanted (and by all accounts should have had) was the support of my parents. Parents are supposed to push their kids to be and do something big and amazing with their lives.
I made myself the promise that I would never, ever tell my daughter that she couldn’t do or be something – I think it’s really one of the cruelest things a parent can do to destroy (even if it’s not done intentionally or with malice) a child’s dream.
At 35 I regret not pushing myself harder to achieve my own dreams. If I had the willpower and support to follow my dreams my life would be in such a different place right now.
Did your plans change? What are you(do you want to be) now? Now I’m a sales person, and have been for the last 12 years. It’s ok. I’ve been really successful in some companies, and not so good in others. I still would love to be involved in wildlife conservation on a full time basis.
Are you happy with the path you are on? I guess on a level of 1 to 10, I’m probably sitting at around 4.
What would you do if could change it? If I could change my path, I’d write the entrance exams and take the plunge and study veterinarian science. Wildlife vets are looking at around 7 years to qualify. That would put me into my 40s if I were to complete the degree.
What is stopping you from changing your path? Funds. Studying is expensive, and so is living. I have a daughter to support, to put through school. If I knew that I could study full time and not have to worry about all the necessary living expenses for the next 7 years I’d quit my job and get my arse into a lecture hall.