For the last fortnight or so I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma. Real First World problems to be sure but in need of resolution none the less. One one shoulder I had the angel of Nursing. In pristine white and with voice angelic she beckoned me to a secure career with decent money and seemingly limitless opportunity. On the other shoulder lounged the smoke wreathed demoness of Aviation. Clad in a shabby,oil stained leather jacket she cackled at me as she sparked another fag.Shrugging her shoulders she offered me a bleak vista of unrelenting hard work,low pay,endless flight time building and instability.
For most people this would not be much of a dilemma. Then again most people wouldn’t have to choose between such disparate occupations. I’m not like most people though. Not in any cool sense you understand. More of a spacker,imbecilic swimming against the stream sort of way. Imagine a Liz Lemon as uncool as Jack Donaghy imagines her to be and you’d be in range. It all then came to a head when I was confronted by my old enemy Stephenie Meyer Algebra. I decided to take an insanely compressed Algebra ‘boot camp’ that hosed 16 weeks of madness at us over 4 days with a placement test for college maths at the end.
I was losing sleep over this. It was ridiculous. So for the first time in my life I acted like an adult and looked at the pros and cons of the two degree paths open to me.Now I should point out that I had done so a couple of weeks prior but it wasn’t an honest assessment.I was ignoring certain realities in order to sway my decision a certain way. Not the biggest of issues if you’re an 18 year old heading off to your first year of college but of bigger concern to a 40 year old woman with kids and a job.My approach this time was exhaustive and even scientific (there were spreadsheets involved)and looked into every detail.Tuition,housing,work/school schedule,commuting,credits from previous courses,job prospects,applicability to current employment,pre-requisites and what was in my heart of hearts.
In my previous effort I had gone to great efforts to ignore that last factor.I wanted this to be a decision based on pragmatism. When I did allow it in it became the final,most satisfying,piece of the puzzle. All of my other questions were answered in the loud ‘click’ of the puzzle piece locking into place.
Nursing was only ever going to be a Second Prize.
*With apologies to Neal Stephenson