Growing up is easy, your parents, teachers, basically any adult tells you what to do. You know certain hours you have to be in school, you have a curfew that tells you when to get home, you get told when to eat, sleep, etc. Then you go to college and get some freedom, but life is still relatively structured around school, homework, side jobs, and friends. But after college…then what? That’s where I am right now. My time at school was most definitely not the traditional four years of college. I took time off at some point due to medical necessity and ended up pregnant my last semester there. Now I’m 24 (a few months away from turning 25), a proud mother of a two-year old boy, and have no clue where I want to go with my life.
I always thought I’d be a big time researcher, going off to graduate school right after graduating from college and getting some fancy PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering, but clearly that’s not where life took me. I lost interest in my selected field of study fast sometime nearing the end of my college career but since I was already so far along there wasn’t much of an option. I ended up spending the first two months after school and after the baby was born at home wondering what to do with my life when a part-time position came on my radar at the University of Maryland.
The position was vaguely related to what my background was in, it was a study about Diabetes and a cell phone management system that would help patients manage their disease. I took the position as a field researcher, acquiring data for the studying thinking that this would just be something until I figured out what I was actually going to do. But I guess my boss soon realized that I was more than capable of what I was doing for work and I soon got promoted to a research coordinator. And that was the beginning of the downward spiral…I took the position because it was a better opportunity and more money, but is that what is truly important in life? I was beginning to wonder…
Soon I was damn near running the study, a little more than a year after I was hired I went from being one of the field staff to assistant project manager. My entire life (minus the hours spent with my son) was absolutely consumed by work. Can we recruit this physician into the study, will we reach our monthly patient quota, is this patient eligible, these thoughts flew through my mind for what seemed like every waking moment. Then in October of last year our project manager decided to leave us and I got promoted once again. So I am presently running a project that I two years ago barely wanted to be apart of. I just renewed my contract to run through the end of February 2010 but am now wondering, where do I go after that? Do I find another contract within the system I’m currently working, do I pursue my dream of being a chef (more on this later), do I go back to school? Who the knows???
I don’t want to come off as the indecisive type but how did people for years and years stay in the same field and not loose their minds? Why was it called a mid-life crisis before? Who knew your quarter life could be just as bad?