Could my diabetes lead to a career change?

It’s funny, the different ways that diabetes has changed my life – mostly, in the way that I view my abilities.

Pre diagnosis, I was firmly a humanities girl. I avoided the maths and science faculty of high school like the plague, up until the point where I actually had to take out my map to find a classroom if it was ‘that’ side of the school building. Science and maths were never my thing – languages, essays and piles of politics and history reading was always my strong point, where I got my As. I got Bs in Maths and Science, so obviously I ‘failed’, and I hate things I ‘suck’ at. (Once a nerd, always a nerd)

Then I got diagnosed, and the educator left me overnight with a pile of reading. However this time it wasn’t literature or history, it was stone cold facts about this disease that had suddenly thrust its way into my life.

Trust me, this is all leading somewhere, keep going!

I remember that night vividly. I stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning reading the entire pile of information she gave me. I read about what my pancreas did, what ketones are, what beta cells are, what insulin does and why not having any is a bad bad thing. I read and read and drew myself little diagrams, and I woke up the next morning determined to figure out once and for all what was happening to my body. The educator came in the next morning, and I remember saying something like ‘so are we upping my basal rate? Cos my BGL was 17.3 this morning.’ She just about fell off the bed!

I realised that I had been shortchanging myself since I was 14. I didn’t ‘suck’ at science  or maths – I was actually quite good at science (and reasonable at maths). I’m not super fast, or any kind of maths or science whiz (flashcards are my best friend), but I GET it. I understand it, I just have to learn it in my own way, draw my own diagrams and make up my own explanations.

Why am I telling you this? For a while now – I’m talking since the start of 2011 – I’ve been considering completely switching my uni course to something completely different, something I know I never would have considered if I wasn’t diabetic. I study a Bachelor of Arts at the moment, majoring in French and dabbling in Literature, Theatre and Chinese. I’m aiming to do a Dip.Ed afterwards and teach in secondary schools. It’s great, however the pretentiousness and lack of real world relevance does get me down sometimes.

I’m considering switching to a Nursing/Midwifery course.

Diabetes has actually given me the courage and the self belief that I could do a job like that. When I was diagnosed I realised that I wasn’t a dud at science, rather I was a dud at being confident in my own abilities. My awesomeness at understanding my own disease has actually made me realise that my brain can understand what our bodies do! I would love to work with diabetic women all throughout their pregnancy and afterwards, providing prenatal and post natal care, helping with all the normal things as well as all the issues diabetes brings up. Obstetrics has always fascinated and interested me, (I watch One Born Every Minute and A Baby Story religiously!) and I know that I’d be a freaking fantastic midwife.

HOWEVER, I’m torn. I want to do both. Teaching and nursing/midwifery excite me equally. My plans hinge on my exam results…

If I go well plan is to continue on, do teaching, and if I end up hating teaching then I’ll head on back to uni and do midwifery 🙂  I may really help kids with diabetes in schools, that could be cool… If I do badly, I’m applying ASAP and getting the hell out of Arts. My grades have been slowly declining this year, thanks to feeling disillusioned and fed up with the pure wankiness of the course. Bad exam results could be a sign!

The point of this post? Thank you diabetes, for broadening my horizons!

5 responses to “Could my diabetes lead to a career change?

  1. Great post. I’m quite similar to you in aptitude, though a good decade or so older! I’m a humanities nerd too, and would you believe jumped ship from the law I studied at uni to become a medical editor. It’s made learning all things ‘diabetes’ much easier and more manageable, and I’m so grateful I’ve accepted I’m not missing that half of my brain after all. It’s actually pretty smart too! (My only ‘science’ in school was geology, and I quit maths in year 11 because I couldn’t deal with the bad grades). It’s awesome you’re realising this about yourself now, mid-studies. I did too, but completed them anyway, and they’ve still been really useful. And – don’t assume you need to be torn. What if you come up with some incredibly useful and innovating e-learning training course in midwifery that is used across nursing colleges throughout Australia? You can take some practical experience, add some teaching and training knowledge, and bam. You have a product. Teaching is not only relevant in secondary schools … 😉

    • That’s a great point Kim!! Yeah, I think I need to realise that it’s not the ‘be-all and end-all’ – I can go back and study, combine skills…
      great comment, that’s a huge jump you made!!

  2. Hi Georgie! I’ve been following your posts with great interest. So much of what you write is relevent to young people ( and others!), not just with diabetes but other chronic and life changing illnesses. Are you aware of what I do? I nurse, and I teach, people with renal failure. There are plenty of ways you can combine your cosiderable talents. You will find your path, of that I’m sure.

  3. I am a type 1 of 15 years. I chose the course of nursing and have one more year until I’m done with school. I want to become a certified diabetic educator. I really enjoy reading your blog, it helps knowing someone else is dealing with the same things I am.

  4. Same here! I’m a CNA & have worked both in Home Care & a Dr’s office but I feel so drawn to diabetic patients. Maybe because it’s something I’m familiar with I’m not sure. I’d love to become a CDE or something along those lines.

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