Finding Your Dream Career Isn’t Always Easy

Young male standing before two divergent paths

Have you ever met a person that knew what they wanted to do in middle school, are still in that career at 40, and love it? I was not one of those people. In fact, when I was 44 I was still trying to reinvent myself.  

When I was in high school I was envious of my classmates that knew where they wanted to go to college and what they wanted to major in. I, unfortunately, had no clue. I accepted admission to a 4-year college, paid my deposit, and even bought stuff for my dorm room. Then the cold feet set in when I got my schedule and realized there was not 1 class of the 5 listed that I was interested in. It’s a memory that still gives me goosebumps 30 years later. So I stayed home, went to community college, and then got married. Then it was time to figure out what I really wanted to do.  

I was working for a nursing school at the time and decided I liked healthcare. My mom was a nurse, I had aunts that were phlebotomists, and an uncle that was a med tech. So it made sense. Soon I enrolled in a Nuclear Medicine program. I loved my coursework and with a 3.4 GPA I was good at it. Then I started my clinical and guess what? I was not a fan of patient care. A senior, one term from graduation, and I had to change my major. Now, remember I was a nontraditional student and had to go home and explain to my husband that the $50,000 we just spent was not going to yield the career I expected. 

No, he didn’t divorce me, but I felt like I was in the middle of a lake in a boat with no oars. How could I have made such a mistake? I was able to get some great advice from a career counselor, obtained a bachelor’s in psychology, and then a master’s in career and human resource development. It turns out I loved working with the students at the nursing school and the science of healthcare.  

What should you do if you find yourself in my position? What helped me was a few career counseling sessions, but most of all some great assessment tools.  

I reached out to our resident career counselor, Barbara Van Dyk, for some suggestions on assessment and career research tools. These are her favorites:

It took a while, but now as an academic advisor for healthcare clients, I finally feel I found career gold. I hope you, too, can find exactly what meets your needs.

To help you grow your career, look for monthly blogs from Barbara Van Dyk. She will focus on career management, re-skilling, and upskilling to name just a few. Her first post will be later this month!

Written by: Melissa Kessler

April 15, 2021

About the Author

Melissa Kessler headshot

Melissa brings 25 years of experience in higher education to Bright Horizons, including 15 years as the Assistant Director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at Rochester Institute of Technology and 7 years advising within a Nursing program. Melissa holds a Master’s in Career Development.