Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That big, exciting decision.

So, I have been telling you guys a little bit at a time (and even dropping a few hints!) about what this big decision I am making is.

I have been working at PetsMart for about three months now, and I absolutely love my job. I wouldn't have it any other way, than to be able to work with animals for a living... it hardly even feels like work! It's honestly the first job I have genuinely liked since World Market closed. That being said, I have a few friends who are either vet techs, or in school to be a vet tech, and the idea has sounded so good to me lately.

I brought it up with Nick and my friends and family and most of them are strongly in favor of my staying in school to complete the two-year associates degree (that would only take me a year and a half because of my education degree). There are several reasons why this decision is a hard one for me:

  • I have already spent five years and countless thousands of dollars on a degree. Thinking about this decision is not to say that I don't love teaching, because I really do. And the fact that I have spent so much time on this path makes me a little hesitant to change my mind so late in the game. Deciding to go back to school after I graduate in three weeks would mean two more years (ish) of school and a few (ish) thousand more dollars in loans. Is this something I am willing to take on?
  • I haven't even tried teaching freal, yet. I know I have had practicums and student teaching, but these aren't much compared to what the real first year of teaching is like. And while I can honestly say I have never felt as strongly about teaching English as I do about helping animals, I also cannot truly say I have given teaching a 100% try. Doesn't five years and many, many loans deserve a real try?
  • Two more years in school means two more years I put everything else on hold. I am going to be 23 soon. I am ready to move out of my parents house (which would probably still happen) and maybe, possible, someday soon start thinking about the possibility of getting married. Not only this, but I have been living the "student's schedule" for a long time, now, and before I started at PetsMart, I was all ready to have a full time job + awesome salary when I graduated. I have so many plans for actual money. None of these plans would happen for another two years. 
  • Being a vet tech means making a LOT less money. I would probably make about 20k less a year being a vet tech. I keep telling myself that this is not the thing I should base my decision off of, but more money IS appealing, right?
  • When I emailed the director the program, she wasn't very easy to talk to/nice about scheduling an appointment with me. I feel like this might be a sign. 

I realize that this is a huge amount of text and I love you if you have read all the way to this point. It definitely helps that I get this all out on the blog, and I appreciate any input that you guys might have for me. 

I keep thinking that the best idea would be to find a job and try teaching for a while. And if I don't find a job, go back to school. But it seems so much harder to go back to school once you stop. What would you do?

<3 xo 


  1. You defiantely have to be happy with your work, no matter what you decide. That is one of the reasons I left the corporate world and went back to taking school pictures, even though I make less. Either way you will always have your teaching degree...better than no degree at all. :)

  2. Thanks, Sarah! I agree with that, totally. Lots of people are saying I should try teaching first, though, because of the money, and to me that's not a real reason.

  3. i have been in a similar situation too. i went to college, got my BA and am now doing something totally different (and that I only needed an AA for). but trust me, doing something you love will make you happier than even if you made $100,000. nothing is worse than getting up and going to a job you hate.

    i too had a hard time getting a counselor to talk to. thats why i went to a different school :) good luck!

  4. I had a similar dilemma. I got my BA in Audio Engineering, and when I graduated I KNEW I would never work in the field. So I worked at an indie record label for a few years, then went back to school & got an associates in graphic design. While getting my design degree I was working at petsmart and had a similar feeling that you're having. I decided against going for a 3rd (!!!) degree, and just ended up finding a 9-5 office job. I still find myself daydreaming every day of working with animals. Maybe some day.

  5. Whenever I have to make a big choice, I rely on this weird theory that I have no idea where I came up with, but that makes me wonder if maybe I am secretly really wise and life-smart: is there really a wrong choice, or are these two choices just good in different ways?

    Either one sounds like a really rewarding and fun career. If you decide to teach, you could always volunteer somewhere with animals on the side, or maybe even find a little part time job like the one you have now that will keep you around animals. If you decide to go the vet-tech route, maybe you could also get a part time tutoring job or something (I hear tutors can make pretty good money if really qualified!) Or I always see ads everywhere for people needed to teach random classes (knitting, cooking, swimming) so you could combine your teaching skillz with another random skill and have a fun little teaching job on the side!

    Basically, I think you should think of it as a win-win instead of feeling like you have to choose completely between one or the other. You seem to have done a really awesome job of balancing school, work, blogging, the boyf, and everything else until now (like really, do you sleep ever?) so I see no reason why your life can't be as varied and full once you have a big girl job :)

  6. wow that was almost as long as your post

  7. you guys are amazing. i am fearing the same thing will happen, Crystal and Alycia. I don't want to regret not trying it once I am settled somewhere! And Jackie, I think you are really wise, because I DO feel like I have to choose, and I really don't want to! I am hoping that I CAN find something like teaching on the side (that would be my preference, I think). And I love that your comment was as long as my post ;)

  8. Darlin, do what you feel is right. Go with your gut! For years, I thought I wanted to be an actress. I almost got my degree in musical theatre, but I'm happy I went into communications instead because it turned out I wanted to be a writer. If animals are your passion, then go for it!

    At the same time, perhaps you should finish out the teaching thing just to see if it happens the way you planned. You already got this far -- why not keep going? Maybe you can get your teaching degree, and if all else fails you can always go back to the vet thing.

    But I know money is an issue. It sucks! I wish the world didn't run on money, but it does. What I always say is, go with what you love -- and if you're meant to do it, the money will come!

  9. I think you have to follow your heart. If you really want to stay working with animals, and that makes you happy then do it. Your family may disagree, but it's your life not theirs and you have to do what makes you happy.

    Money is not the most important thing, and if you find yourself in a job you dislike just for the money then you won't be happy.

    You can always go back to teaching, but I htink your heart is telling you that's not what you want anymore.

  10. What's the worst thing that can happen? Not much. Either you have one fab career or another. Or you have two degrees and go into something else altogether.

    It's so funny how many people go to school, get through it and then go "Ah crap, that's not even what I want to do!" I'm lucky that my schooling didn't lead to a specific job..."Hispanic Studies" ... I can blame not working in the field on not finding anything Hispanic-y enough haha.

    I barely make enough to survive but I'm REALLY happy at my job, and I think that my quality of life in general is much better than those who make tons of money but are bored/unhappy eight hours a day.

  11. this is awesome. i think i am much closer to making my decision, thanks to yours guys' support. i am excited to get started!!!

  12. OOhh..this is a good post. I got my bachelors in basket weaving (meaning general studies degree), which left me with nothing! I had to make a decision on whether I cared about anything enough for a Master's or if I should go for a two year like your contemplating. I looked into it (like you did) and stalled a bit. Eventually, I decided I wanted to open my own biz making handmade goods. I am getting my Master's in Management w/focus on Entrepreneurship, which is solidifying my business plans for my business. Everything slid into place magically. I think worrying about funds, when you have a lot of loans is smart...furthermore I think working in a job that makes enough to pay on loans is rrrreally smart. I think 22 is young...and 23 is still young...and lets say you take 2 years to think it over 25...well...still young! Pay down your debt then go back in there and pursue your two year if your still passionate about it. For goodness sake, I just turned 31 and am working full time in a blah job to make my dreams happen...and if I had done it right away after my bachelors (early mid 20's year of age)...I wouldn't have been so sure about all worked out for me. Good luck...sounds like your in a good place no matter what you choose! :) Hearts, janna lynn

  13. You are still super young--take this time to go down any road you want! I stuck it out at a school way too long because of the money and time I had already invested into it. And while I'm glad I have a degree, I wish I had gone with my gut about 3 years earlier. I spent this past year really struggling with what I needed to do and I'm finally taking the steps to really make my own destiny... and I'm scare--but excited!

    Sit down and write out everything you love, hate, need, already have for both options. Sit with a while--you don't need to make a split-second decision. You'll find the best fit for you :D <3

  14. Thanks, girls. I know I am young, and one of my fatal flaws is doing something as SOON as I get the bug to do it! I am trying to take my time and talk with people to make sure this is what I really want, and not just a phase. I appreciate all of your input and plan to let you guys know how my meeting with the advisor goes which is tomorrow!

  15. i have always believed in studying what you enjoy and want to learn more about. i got a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Psych. and i am in NO way a religious person but learning about religions of the world was something that always intrigued me.

    i say give teaching a try because if not you'll never know but don't sell yourself short. make the appointment, find out everything you can about the studying aspect of becoming a vet tech. and also call up some vet offices and tell them you are considering that as a field and see if they would let you do an internship, even if it's unpaid at least you'll get to see how you feel about that being your day to day.

    cover all your bases so ten or twenty years down the road you don't have any regrets.

  16. Anonymous10:13 PM

    Ooh, I think being a vet tech would be an amazingly rewarding job! I say follow your heart, Steph! God knows I changed my mind a million times about what I wanted to do for a living! I originally wanted to go to art school, but then decided on the "stable path" as a Nursing major (my mom's urging), then switched to Exercise Physiology and then decided to do what I really love...Graphic Design! So now I'm 24 with a bunch of unfinished degrees (until I finish the design one in 1.5 years...woohoo!) I'm so, so happy everyday that I made the decision to do what I'm truly passionate about. Even though I'm totally in over my head with student loans...and have to work a crappy full-time job while I'm finishing school, I know it will be worth it. Sorry about the rambling, but I think you should go for it! You can always fall back on teaching later, if the vet tech career path doesn't pan out. At least you won't have any regrets! Best of luck deciding...I'll be checking back to see what happens! ;)

  17. Hi there! I heard you and travelgirls love story, lol, and had to come see what the fuss was all about. Really love your blog!
    As for your delima, I think being a vet tech would be so fun and such a great thing for you and countless animals. But I realize that jumping into a degree, after only a few months of 'experience' might not be the best thing. Have you interned at a vet's office?? Even for a month, just to make sure that it is really what you like doing. That way, you can get a good feel without having the total 2 year commitment of school. At least that would work for me. I always change my mind on what I want to do. And 23 is young (not that I am so much older or anything), you have more time than ever :)

    Ok, enough rambling. Have a great Friday!

  18. I have a close friend who just became a licensed vet tech and she seems to enjoy it. I'd say do what your heart tells you. What about getting a job teaching and taking one or two classes on the side for the vet tech training? I know that would be a hectic few years, but it would give you the chance to try teaching and then if you didn't like you, you could just go to school full time. What it comes down to, like others said, is to do what your gut tells you to do. Gook luck making a decision!

  19. You really ARE young. Give it a try. Give a lot a try. Something will click and you'll know when it does. Most successful people don't get it right the first fifteen or so times. :-)

  20. You guys are awesome. You have all shown me so much support on this post! I appreciate all of your input, and how you've shared your similar experiences. I met with the advisor on Friday, and I plan to write a post sometime tonight or tomorrow to share all the details and what I'm pretty sure I've decided to do. I really appreciate you all, so much! Thanks, again :)

    xoxo S

  21. To be honest, I am not a huge animals person but those pics made me MELT. Especially the last one...

    Regarding your text, life sometimes surprises you with situations when you least expect it - I am sure whatever decision you make was the one you were supposed to make...!


Thank you, as always, for stopping by! I appreciate you guys SOMUCH. I read and reply to EVERY comment, so leave as many as you like :) xoxo