+ By Emma Mudan Harrigan Campbell
Over the course of eight years, I have switched career paths constantly. My first idea was to become a singer, then a dancer, and then an actor—maybe even all three at once. I liked how people would occasionally compliment me on my voice when I sang, and I figured why stop there?
I wanted to become someone great, someone who changed the world; mainly through theatrics. Then I switched to a more political standpoint and thought about being a lawyer. My mother said I would make a good lawyer since I manage to avoid questions by not directly answering them.
Today, I aspire to be a writer, any sort of writer—an author, a journalist, a blogger, anything. This was the doing of my third grade teacher, who read a short story I wrote out loud and said, “If this girl doesn’t become a writer, I don’t know who will.” The underlying connection between all of these jobs is that someone else told me I could be them. That I would be “good” at singing, or a “talented” writer. But, the idea of choosing something based on what other people say doesn’t appeal to me. Yes, I want to be a writer, but is it for the right reason?
“Do what you love, love what you do.” I found this quote while trying to break my writer’s block for an English essay. It may be cheesy and overused, but I think there is more importance to it than just a saying on a hand towel. When most people read this, the first thing they think of is their career. Why is that? I think it is because we automatically correlate the verbs “do” and “be” with a job. When someone asks, “What do you want to be?” People tend to say their future or current career choice. I have never heard someone respond with an emotion or a nontangible idea.
Pondering this, I found my answer for what I want to be when I grow up. Instead of choosing a potential job that will change time and time again, I need a long-term plan. In the course of one lifetime, I want to be happy. Realizing this, the question, “What do you want to be?” might not provide the correct platform for my answer, “I want to be happy.” Maybe the appropriate question for this answer is, “How do you want to exist?” When I “grow up” I want to exist happily. Although it sounds simple, I can imagine it probably won’t be as easy to carry out. There will be highs and, there will be lows. I plan to take on the lows with a smile as my sword, and with the knowledge that I will make it out alive. Maybe I will become a writer, or maybe I won’t. Whatever I choose career wise, I know it will be because I am happy doing it.
About the Writer: Emma is 13 years old and lives in Annapolis.
As a child, we are usually asked one question very early on in life, in the moment we might not know but it one of the biggest questions we will ever be asked. What do you want to be when you grow up? Most children will say they want to be a doctor, teacher, police officer, etc. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would vary between giraffeopologist (the name I gave to people who studied giraffes), a witch, or a mad scientist. My answer started to change the years passed, I grew older, became wiser and started to discover who I am and what I was really interested in, the human body and mind. At the age of thirteen I figured I had watched enough criminal minds to classify my self as a criminologist, but in march of 2013 I on a mission trip that completely changed my mind and made me certain that I wanted to be a part of doctors without boarders.
First of all, I am going to take you back to 2011 when me and my family packed up and shipped off to south africa where my father grew up. We started in Capetown and journeyed all up the coast to Durban. On this trip I got the chance to see a lot of poverty and how much we take what we have for granted. From that moment on I knew I needed to do something that would make a difference. When the opportunity arose for me to participate in a Habitat for Humanity mission trip I jumped at the offer, which led to me spending last march break in Hawaii. While exploring volcano national park with my group, a friend of mine fell on extremely sharp volcanic rock and was left with a large gouge on her knee, as she laid there in a dais I watched as the look of fear and panic made its way across all of my teachers faces, none of them knowing what to do. Being a person who works well under pressure I knew that I needed to help and my lifeguard training allowed me to do so. It was in that life changing moment, while I was applying pressure to this girl’s wounds, that I started thinking about being a doctor.
Secondly, in the past year I have thought on and on about weather or not this is a good option for me and also if my school grades permit it… Not being a shining star in the class room doesn’t exactly help you get into a medical programme. Also when I decided I wanted to be a doctor I didn’t take into consideration the 8-12 years of schooling and all the different specialties all I knew was I wanted to cure people. Unfortunately I came to the harsh realization that my grades were not sufficient to make it into med school, but still I had the dream of helping people while exploring the world. I refused to give up. I finally came across a program that seems right for me, 4 years of fast learning paramedic training that allows you the knowledge to do field work in foreign countries helping those in need. I will start out close to home doing a 2-3 year partnership program with Humber college at UNB but also taking english classes at STU so if I decide that paramedics isn’t for me I can always return to school to and learn how to teach english in foreign countries as a back up plan. Following those few introductive years I will pack my bags and move to toronto to finish my study program at humber college.
To conclude, I was raised in a very free spirited household, my parents have always known that I was meant to explore the world, they say I have a wandering soul and I must agree. The fact that i work well under pressure, have a desire to help this in need and my love to travel is how i knew paramedic field work was the thing for me. It feels good to know I can offer hope to people that have none.