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I applied for my first Scholarship and I’m so proud!

I wrote this before going back to school. I didn’t get the scholarship that I applied for with this. But I ended up receiving a couple of other ones. I’ve also extracted some of the more personal parts to protect the privacy of some of those involved. But either way, scholarship or not, my GPA overall sat at 4.33 each semester. I’ve been extremely happy with myself, my success and life, in general, these days.

So the question for the scholarship was…

What was my specific strategy in choosing either, A: A specific career I will love
B: A career that adds value to the world or
C: A career that pays a good salary.

If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Or what career I was planning on having 15 years ago. I definitely wouldn’t have said a secretary or an administrative assistant. I never even thought I would attempt writing a scholarship. But here we are and since you’re asking, let me tell you the story of how I came to that decision. The decision to achieve a career as a Medical Administrator. (Somewhere along the lines this changed to Executive Administration.)

I guess It all started many years ago at the age of six. I started getting sick randomly all the time. For a long time, we had many challenges figuring out exactly what it was that was making me ill. Somewhere down the road throughout my Elementary School career, I had been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome aka IBS. (A super lazy diagnosis if you ask me. I was just diagnosed with a pancreas birth defect. This could be the real reason for my irritable bowel problems.)

Great I can start moving forward in life. Even though I fell ill quite a lot during High School I just chalked it up to my IBS acting up. I graduated with a couple of extra credits due to all the extra time I spent at my Coop Placement. I loved it there. It was like a second home. I had a great relationship with my mentors. And to this day I am still so thankful for the relationships we had and the wisdom they passed on to me. (Still love them very much. I have new mentors from college that a love as well.)

After I finished high school I went back to attend the OYAP program for Hairstyling through Mohawk College. (Because it was an apprenticship you didnt need to worry about a scholarship. And because it was a red seal trade, you got grants and bursaries for participating.) But it was a couple of months prior to beginning this program officially that I started getting sicker. A month or so into the course, my health started getting immensely worse. I still enjoyed every day going to school.

It wasn’t until I got into the workplace working full-time & overtime hours. I had to earn my keep as the new trainee at the salon. I started to realize how strenuous a job being a hairstylist was, both physically & mentally. After many more specialist appointments and quite a few more emergency room visits, soon came another diagnosis. Rachel, you have Crohn’s Disease. (This was actually a misdiagnosis… The saga continues.)

After receiving this diagnosis I took a long hard look at what I needed out of a career. And how I needed to tailor said career to support my life going forward. Crohn’s Disease means a lot of medication, and benefits now became crucial. It means a lot of hospital trips. Along with a need for a flexible/easy-to-cover position when I can’t be at work because I’m in the hospital.

It means a lot of unknowns too.

One thing I did know, was that I needed to take care of my body. And one of the ways I needed to do that was to have my job works for me, just as much as im gonna be working for my job. I decided that since I wasn’t too deep into the course that I would back out. I was a month in and they hadn’t even started collecting work for marks yet. To me, since I wasn’t losing any hard-earned marks or money, my health was definitely worth it. I de ided to change career paths early while I still could.

But obviously, I still had to do something. And go to school for something that would be able to provide me with a solid, enjoyable career. One that would be somewhat predictable to aid in stress management as well as a predictable schedule, benefits, and a healthy work-life balance. I wanted it to still be a job that’s essential for some type of reason. It’s important to me to know I’m needed and I like helping. I wanted something that’s still providing aid or service in some type of way. I like having a job that is helpful and assistive. It needed to pay enough that one day when I had a family, I’d be contributing a substantial portion of the money to the household. (I have a family now and only one income so good pay is highly important.)

As I started to reflect on my time spent as a hairdresser. After all, I had spent my whole high school career preparing for this. It’s what I wanted to do since I was three years old. I decided to look at my time spent from a different perspective. I asked myself, “If I couldn’t choose Hairstyling, what would my favourite part of that time I had spent be? What was most enjoyable for me?

I realized I loved the interactions I had with people. I loved having daily tasks that had to be done. And I loved being a big part of why the salon’s day went so smoothly. It was important to me and I loved knowing all the clients and developing relationships with them. That also helped the business. I loved taking care of advertisements and social media. The knowledge & wisdom bestowed upon me by those I worked with and spent most of my time with was something I valued. I loved being a key part of the workplace.

I loved the whole ” Dress to impress” kinda aspect working at a salon gives you. Like if you really want to convince your client that you’re great at the job you need to be clean and polished yourself. How can they have faith in you taking care of them when you don’t take care of yourself first? It definitely kept me on point with my cleanliness and appearance. I love to dress casually.

This is when I realized that all the things I loved most other than the actual hairdressing itself were the assistant part of it. The administrative side I got to experience through being a coop student. I started to look at the potential benefits this new career path had in store for me. I looked carefully at the cons too but there weren’t very many.

Fast forward to where I am in life now, I now have a toddler who will hopefully be able to go to preschool while I attend College. (Not sure what will happen because of COVID.) (She did go thankfully and I absolutly love the daycare I got her into. They were amazing.)

I will be the only contributor to the family pot of money for a while and need to ensure that I obtain a substantial amount of income for the two of us to live on not only now but in the future as well. Rent isn’t cheap like it used to be either. One-bedroom apartments are upwards of $1100 at decent-to-live places. (Now it’s more like $1500 for a bachelor’s apartment. It’s disgusting.)

I need Financial Stability.

I’m may not have everything figured out. But I know going back to school is the right decision for myself and my daughter. Now is the best time to do it. Life doesn’t wait for anyone. I want this life to be beautiful for us two.

Looking back at this post even though the scholarship piece was only written less than a year ago, so much has changed since then. Thats just how life is, it just keeps moving. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading my post! (This post/scholarship was now writted like 3 years ago.)

Photo from The Glass Jar Refillery. nothing to do with my scholarship though.

Have you ever thought about what led you to your career choice? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments. Also share where youre from if you’d like and if you recieved a scholarship. Lets raise awareness for what help and financial aid is out there for students!

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