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Would You Do Something Over If You Could?

My husband is going to be starting a new job soon, and while it is similar to what he has been doing, it is in a more stable and secure area. This has caused him to wonder if he should have taken this step several years ago, and if he was offered the chance to do something over, would this be what he would have chosen to. This led to conversations between us as to what in our life would we like to “do over” if we could. Of course the quick answer would be to be born rich, but that isn’t really something we would have control over. The idea of the “do over” is to choose something that we could control.

I admit that I gave it a lot of thought. It made me think about my life and what would I change. For me it all came down to my degree and that I would have chosen something else to major in. In high school, I decided that I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to specialize in International Law and work in D.C. My goal was to find a way to pay for college and use the annuity that my grandmother had put away for my education to pay for law school. So I studied hard, got good grades and earned a scholarship that paid for my tuition. I also qualified for a grant that paid part of my room and board, leaving me to work part-time to pay for the rest. (Side note: I recently learned that 1 year of college today at my university costs what I paid for all for 4 years. Wow!) I majored in Political Science (perfect for D.C.) and minored in Legal Studies. I also happen to  love history. I had a great teacher in high school who made learning about the past interesting and I knew that I would take a lot of history courses in college once I finished my core classes and started working on my major. During a meeting with my guidance counselor in the fall of my junior year, he told me that I was actually only two courses short of having a second major in History. His advice was to give up the minor and instead earn a Bachelors in Political Science and a Bachelors in History. So that is what I did. Little did I know that in my senior year, when I was getting ready to take the LSAT’s for law school, the money that I had been counting on to pay for law school wasn’t there.

For more than a decade, my grandmother told everyone that she had put $5,000 away in an annuity for both myself and my younger brother to help pay for college. She was always discussing how much interest it was earning and gave my mom yearly updates as to the overall balance for both of us. So when I needed money to pay for the LSAT’s, I asked my mom to have my grandmother release the money so that I could pay for it. It was a total shock to my mom and myself when my grandmother replied, “You didn’t really think I put aside that money did you?” Uh, yes, we did. Because you told us and everyone in the family about doing so. No one was more surprised than my grandfather, who wanted to know what she had done with the $10,000 that he released to her to purchase the annuities years before. It created turmoil in our family. My mother was angry at her mother for leading all of us on. My father was angry because she was destroying the dreams that we had of our education. My younger brother was angry because his dreams were gone before he even started college. To me, he was the one with the best consequences. He had plenty of time to rethink his plans and adjust them so he could still achieve his college goals. He wasn’t the one who was just a few weeks away from graduating with a degree that would be hard to use. So for me, my “do over” would be to choose something else to major in that would have given me a better career path.

I am not upset with the career field that I am in now. I enjoy what I do and it truly is a great opportunity to help to take care of people who are fighting the hardest fight of their life every day. Playing just a small role in taking care of them is very rewarding. But I would have chosen something else. Several years ago I thought about going back to school to be a teacher. I had the opportunity to work as a substitute teacher for a year and came to the realization that I did not want that job at all. Nope not for me. I met people that were teachers who had also come to that realization too late. But what do I think I would choose if I could go back and have a “do over”? I know that I would have chosen Criminal Justice. I think learning about forensics would be really interesting. Of course, that wasn’t available back when I went to college and only came about around the time of the original CSI show. Or maybe I would have gotten a degree in Medical Management, since I am now working in the medical field, that may have allowed me to move up to a higher position. My husband is working on getting his Master’s and tells me that I can join him and we can do college together. It is definitely something for me to consider.

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