In the fog of waitlists, rejections, massively large traffic tickets, incomplete applications and 4% downsizing that has dominated the last few weeks of my life, the one shining beacon of hope that has kept me sane is a home-turned-college administrative building on Old English Road that backs up to the edge of campus: the Student Development & Counseling Center, a.k.a. The AC Center for Seniors Who Can't Write a Resume Good and Want to Learn How to Do Other Stuff Good Too.
For the past month or so, I have been in almost constant contact with David K. at the SDCC, trying to form a plan to up my chances of getting into a graduate program off the waitlist and changing my resume to fit a job application instead of a school application. It didn't hit me that my post-graduation plan has actually changed, however, until I opened a short email last week:
Jenn: Are you considering applying to Siemens/Bayer? If so, you need to change your objective line. Other than that, looks great.-DK
Up until March 10, my objective had been Admission to a Direct-Entry Master's program for Nursing. Plain and simple, clear-cut and straightforward. I hadn't put much thought into it because, well, what else is there to say when you're building a resume catered to an admissions board for a direct-entry master's program for nursing? That was my step one; there could be no other objective for me until I was ready to move to step two aprroximately 24-36 months later. But in my current situation, I could very well still be waiting for step one, or I could already be on step three or four. For all I know, I could still be staring blankly at a building directory trying to figure out where the %$&! the damn stairway is.
Sometimes, things don't fall into place quite the way we want them to. We can make millions of plans for every hypothetical situation we might find ourselves in, but let's be honest--does the universe ever run smoothly when we need it to the most?
So I'm picking myself up and brushing off the dirt, making my way up to the SDCC, placing my resume in envelopes marked Siemens/Bayer, and re-examining what exactly my objective might be.
My objective is to find somewhere to be at least for next year, but not to spend the rest of my life in a research lab. My objective is to find a way to prove that you don't need a white coat to think like a scientist.
Someone once told me that most of the world's worst problems could easily be solved over a cup of tea. Idealistic? Maybe. But all anyone really wants is for someone to listen. Young or old, rich or poor, each of us has a story to tell--the only problem is that not everyone has a voice to tell it with. Unfortunately, the people in this world who are dealt a bad hand are usually the ones whose voices have been muffled, literally or figuratively.
My objective is to hear what they are trying to say. To become a better listener than talker, but to be a voice for the voiceless.
I want to design experiments that are run in real life, not in a laboratory. I want to observe people, watch what they do, listen to what they say. I want to ask questions of them, of myself, of society as a whole and I want to analyze every piece of every answer. I want to make educated guesses and apply these guesses to actual situations--then I want to see where things can be improved for a better experimental outcome. At the end of it all, I want to draw solid & sound conclusions that I can share with everyone around me in the hopes that maybe we're making even a tiny percent of a fraction of a positive difference for at least one person.
Nobody's true objectives can ever be shrunk down to adequately fit one or two lines on a resume. These goals we all have are far bigger and more involved than an 8.5x11" piece of paper. All we can put in that space is how we might want to use certain tools to reach what it is we're really aiming for.
On paper, my new objective is simple:
To secure a position within the field of science or human services utilizing a Bachelor's Degree in Biology in an effort to build a long-term career in health sciences.
In reality, though, that's only scratching the surface. It's only my step one.