Friday, September 13, 2013

Where do I go from here?

I'm a planner. I've always been a planner. I like to know what I'm fighting for, what I'm working towards. I don't like unknowns.

And I still don't know what I want to do with my life.

I'm intending to major in Behavioral Neuroscience (undeclared at the moment), and eventually I would love to do something related to healthcare, especially if this something involves people with special needs.

Last summer I shadowed a pediatric occupational therapist, and I am seriously considering this as a potential career...it bridges my passion for people with special needs, my fascination with physiology, and my desire to have a positive impact on the world.

But then the doubt creeps in...what if I can't handle the physical aspects of OT, like standing for prolonged periods of time? Or, worse, what if people judge me by my gait, and assume that I am not capable of performing my job?

I'm trying to make sense of my feelings....on one hand, I feel doubtful and afraid and lost. On the other hand, I know that I can transcend my CP. I know that no matter what I decide to pursue, the insight that my disability has brought me will be with me always. No one can take that away from me.

And if you're reading this and thinking, "What a mess of a post!," I know. It's Friday night and it has been a long, long week. I'm not even trying to make this into something coherent; I'll probably read it tomorrow morning and wonder if someone spiked the water in the dining hall! ;-) (Sorry in advance for any typos!)

But I needed to write something. I needed to untangle some of the thoughts that have been turning in my mind. And after last week's post, I felt like I owed you guys a little something more. I'm okay. I'm more than okay. College is exhausting and demanding and stressful, but it's also filled with ice cream sundaes and weekend movie nights and friends who slip hilarious notes under the door.

So that's about it for now. There are so many unknowns in my life right now and that scares me but there's also something inherently awesome about having choices. I don't know where I'm going to end up, but I'm going to try to push aside self-doubt and enjoy the journey as much as I can.

9 comments:

  1. I need to meet you in person. I swear, I could have written this, once again! I have the same doubts and fears when I think about the future and my own ability to carry out my dreams.. I want to work with children who have special needs in developing countries, help them have access to education and other resources. Do you know how many people don't believe I can/will? Too many :( I don't even believe it some days... But most days I'm determined to overcome, and I know you will do the same. Our entire lives have been about breaking stereotypes and fighting the odds- you can do whatever you set your mind to! And you'll make a huge impact while doing so. Keep your chin up and keep at it- eventually all the i=unknowns will be clear and you'll be right where nobody thought you'd ever be, including yourself. I'll be cheering you on! Let's go out and show people exactly what we are capable of :)

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  2. Kerri, as a parent I would only see your CP as a blessing in this role. You could relate to my child much deeper than just a typical OT! Plus they charge a fortune so you'd be rich ;) seriously though its a great diverse role and coop is loving his new ot and physio we employed as of last month xx

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  3. I reckon you should remove 'can transcend' and replace with 'AM transcending'.

    I think you'd be a wonderful OT; and such a role model to the people you'd help, not in a loud, ostentatious way, but in an underlying, statement-of-fact kind of way - a 'yes, it's a big challenge, but eminently possible' kind of way.

    And I don't know much about employment law where you are, but over here, where it comes to disability in the workplace, allowances MUST be made. (Obviously not totally ridiculous ones, but I can't imagine that letting you have a seat in your office would hurt. Not to mention that you'd grow into the role gradually, and learn how to make it work for you).

    And much as you like being a planner, remember - you're still young - you don't have to decide or know just yet. I still don't really know what I want to be when I grow up - but I've got a job anyway, and it looks like it'll be one I don't mind. I have a good friend whose career didn't take off until he was in his 50's - he'd been ALL sorts of things up 'til then. I know there's a tendency to idealise and assume that one *must know* where one is going, but if you pick something to learn and stick at it, and keep your eyes open along the way, wonderful things might happen, which you possibly never imagined.

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  4. I'm 37 (which I think is young, but it's older than 20, so you get my point) and I still don't always know what I want to be when I grow up. It'll come...and then you'll do it and then you'll find another road to follow. I'm not going to say "don't worry" because that's not something you can control, but I will say, have faith, you'll be amazing. And as for the OT specific worries - the empathy you can offer special needs kids...well, don't you think they'll offer you that same empathy back?

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  5. You will be exactly who you will be. That sounds cryptic because it's okay that you don't know. I "knew" with all of my heart at the age of 17 that I'd become a criminal lawyer (WHAT?). I knew. And then I started pre-law and knew with everything I was that I would not become a lawyer at all. I graduated with a business management degree and wanted to do graphic design. Until I didn't. Then I wanted to be a writer, until I didn't. I ended up doing exactly what I was supposed to, for the time that I was supposed to. I'm not sure whether I'm still supposed to be doing that or not. (marketing and I am doing it part time)

    You'll figure it out. It's okay!!! I think you should just DO and then figure out by doing what you don't want to do any longer, or do want to do more of. That's really the only way. Your doubts are human. And real. And valid and also totally a perfect part of growing up. Doubts are good when they make us think. They're only notgood when they make us not do anything. Just do. You'll get there. I promise, with all that I am that you will get there.

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  6. Hey! I think it's awesome that you're looking to the future a bit and taking some steps to set yourself in a direction that you think you want to go -- you may change your mind a million times over the next couple years (nm... 30 years!), but that's okay, too.

    As I mentioned in a previous comment to you in a previous comment, I'm a paediatric PT in Canada. I went to school with a girl who had CP and she was doing her Masters in Occupational Therapy -- very successfully, I might add. There are tons of environments in which an OT can work, most of which could accommodate a need to get off your feet sometimes. It might just help determine which treatment options you pursue with a client/patient. That, by the way, is something EVERY therapist does (regardless of their ability levels) based on things like: does my wrist hurt today? Am I pregnant? Does my back hurt? Is this child too big for me to do that with them?

    All therapists have to make accommodations for our physical limitations. NORMAL!! :)

    And frankly, after reading all about you, I think it would take someone 0.2 seconds for somebody to get over themselves and be grateful to have an OT as amazing as you.

    Again, happy to hear we may be lucky enough to potentially count you in as one of "us" someday. ;)

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  7. I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you for your comments...they meant so much to me, and were just the encouragement I needed to keep going!!

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  8. Your CP is nothing to be transcended. It is a part of you. It gives you connection to a community, a specific identity and a specific way of moving through the world that is particular only to us. As the commenter above me so aptly stated: everyone makes accommodations for themselves - it is normal to listen to our bodies. I hope you don't feel like I am trying to minimize your feelings here, because your fear and uncertainty are very real, and acceptance of disability takes a LONG TIME - I know. This post just kind of broke my heart a little.

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