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Lost 23 year old young professional, where to go from here?


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Old 26th May 2018, 10:15 PM   #1
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Lost 23 year old young professional, where to go from here?

Hey everyone. As a young professional I am looking for some career advice. I want to advance my career but I don't have a passion for anything or even a direction I wish to go in, although I would like to have a bit more earning power in the future.

I graduated from a top liberal arts college with a degree in chemistry and a minor in psychology. I landed my first job and started 2 months after graduating as a research coordinator at a a ivy league research university hospital and have been working here 10 months now. The position is a very transitional one with most people working with me only staying for 1 -3 years and then going off to med school or something else. When I wrote my cover letter I mentioned going to nursing school (it was my intention at the time), so my employer is under the impression I am planning on leaving soon (it is part of the reason they hired me). My job is mostly consenting and recruiting participants to research studies, editing protocols for the IRB, writing emails and taking phone calls too. I like my job and the people I work with very much. Now I am just lost on where to go from here. I currently make 35,000 but since I am in a big city I am living with my parents currently.

Even though I got a degree in chemisty, I don't wish to work in that field, although I am happy because I think it is part of the reason I was hired in the first place. I don't want to get my phd in chemistry or do any sort of work in academia/research. When I got my degree, everyone kept telling me STEM opens doors for you, but my job search was soooo hard. I applied at A LOT of places, got a few interviews and only one job offer, which is where I am now.

I am thinking about going back to Nursing school and becoming an NP. Its much better than the bench work I would be doing as a chemist and nurses/NPs make a good amount of money. I thought about getting there with a ABSN but it makes me feel like the last 4 years were a waste. There is still the direct MSN options to be an NP, but many nurses look down on people who get these degrees (or so I have been told). Not to mention both would require a ton of money to pay for, and I was lucky to graduate with no loans and debt free from undergrad. There are scholarships and loan forgiveness programs for nurses, but I am wondering if it will be worth it for me to invest so much time and money. Especially since I am not sure if nursing and becoming an NP is what I want to do or if I am attracted to the salary more so than anything. I wish I could know if I am in love with nursing or the idea of it.

I thought about getting my MPH (masters of public health), but not sure if that would help my earning power really. I am trying so hard to stay in health care, but I am not sure why. I just want my undergraduate degree to not feel like a waste maybe. I am just so lost and confused. I want to make more money of course and build up my career/an advanced degree that will help in that but I just don't know what to do.

Any advice, I am just so confused....
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Old 26th May 2018, 10:47 PM   #2
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Go to med school. Become a Dr.

You're young and have the time now. Later it won't be an option.

You are loan free now so that's great.

It's ok to be confused. I was also.

I went the finance route but had biology/chemistry aptitude. I didn't want to put the time into med school but ended up putting in just as much getting thru the CPA exams, etc.

Go for it. I regret not going that route.
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Old 26th May 2018, 11:30 PM   #3
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I have limited input here, but I will tell you this: Nursing work is nasty backbreaking work. It's working with body fluids 24/7, it's lifting and turning patients and hurting your back, it's putting up with grumpy patients and people who think a hospital is The Four Seasons, it's being considered a peon by the doctors and always having to keep them happy. Everyone I know who's done that work has ruined their back and is working in pain until they can retire.

I had a relative in the best hospital in town for some months, and got familiar enough with the nurses and interns that they would express their frustration to me. The interns said they write in their computer program asking the doctors an important question and the doctors never respond. This is at a good hospital.

You already know the good side, steady work, you can live anywhere, good money. I have no stomach for it, but fortunately, some people do. If you do, then great and thank you.

I think becoming a NP or PA would be a much easier job. But you still may ruin your back before you reach that level. I dunno, a nice cushy research position would sure be a lot easier, except for having to learn to write grants...

Of everything you mentioned, what I like best would be practicing psychology. It may take an emotional toll, but not even as bad as nursing. Much easier physically. You can work for yourself, unlike nursing or any other medical field. Have no boss.
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Old 26th May 2018, 11:31 PM   #4
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I didn't mention med school anywhere in my post, plus I don't have the
pre-reqs to get in. Plus med school is very competitive.
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Old 26th May 2018, 11:40 PM   #5
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Its funny you mention that because I would like to become a psychiatric NP if I did do it.

If I did become an RN, then yes its pretty hard. I am not squeamish or anything, but I wouldn't stay in that line of work for long and would definitely be in it to become an NP in the future.

But I am still sort of conflicted because I would need to do the accelerated BSN or the Direct Entry MSN to get my foot in the door.

With the first option, I could be an RN for like 2 years and then return to become an NP

With the second I would graduate as an NP which would be nice.

I am soo scared of the loans to be honest...
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Old 26th May 2018, 11:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Throwaway123450000 View Post

I am soo scared of the loans to be honest...
I understand that you are afraid of loans. I am 45 years old and graduated from college with no debt thanks to my parents. I realize how fortunate I was. Now I'm several thousand dollars in debt because......life. Divorce, unexpected income cut, etc. It happens. And it sucks, but it is not the end of the world, trust me . I'm in debt, but I still have a near perfect credit score, so debt does not have to mean "destitute." So, debt can happen at any time in your life and I don't think the fear of it should hold you back at age 23. Lots and lots of 23-year-olds have school loans.

I personally am not working in my area of what my degree is in (which is Human Resource Management) and really never did after graduation. My career took me in a few different directions, mostly in non-profit fundraising and now higher education research and information. If the job opportunities presented to you do not match your educational track, it's ok .

You mentioned not wanting to pursue the NP track because of the expected educational track being frowned upon by other nurses. So what. You do you. Nurse practitioners are awesome. I just switched GYN practices and I'm in love with the nurse practitioner I was assigned to as my "doctor." She's all I need .

I think with your chemistry background, a nurse anesthetist would be a natural fit for you too. You may think anesthetists don't have much patient contact or impact, but that is not true. I have had two babies via c-section and the most memorable professional during my entire 48-hour labor with my first child was my amazing/personable/comforting/hilarious nurse anesthetist. He was unforgettable and made the whole experience so much less stressful for me. These people are so integral to the medical-surgical process.

The median pay in 2017 for both nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists was nearly $111,000 annually. In addition, the demand for these professions is projected to grow by 31% over the next 8 years, which is a much faster growth rate than the national average of 7 percent for all jobs. (Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/n...ctitioners.htm)

Good luck with whatever you choose!

Last edited by CautiouslyOptimistic; 27th May 2018 at 12:03 AM..
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Old 27th May 2018, 8:18 PM   #7
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Have you considered PA school? In most states they can do the exact same thing as a NP. You donít have to go to nursing school first but you do have to have to get medical hours as an EMT, CNA, or something with patient contact for most of the competitive programs.

If you donít want to go back to school yet have you looked at other places you can use your degree? I had a buddy who majored in chemistry who worked in a beer manufacturing company for 2 years before he went to dental school. I heard he was making decent money at the plant as a chemist.
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Old 27th May 2018, 8:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CautiouslyOptimistic View Post
I understand that you are afraid of loans. I am 45 years old and graduated from college with no debt thanks to my parents. I realize how fortunate I was. Now I'm several thousand dollars in debt because......life. Divorce, unexpected income cut, etc. It happens. And it sucks, but it is not the end of the world, trust me . I'm in debt, but I still have a near perfect credit score, so debt does not have to mean "destitute." So, debt can happen at any time in your life and I don't think the fear of it should hold you back at age 23. Lots and lots of 23-year-olds have school loans.

I personally am not working in my area of what my degree is in (which is Human Resource Management) and really never did after graduation. My career took me in a few different directions, mostly in non-profit fundraising and now higher education research and information. If the job opportunities presented to you do not match your educational track, it's ok .

You mentioned not wanting to pursue the NP track because of the expected educational track being frowned upon by other nurses. So what. You do you. Nurse practitioners are awesome. I just switched GYN practices and I'm in love with the nurse practitioner I was assigned to as my "doctor." She's all I need .

I think with your chemistry background, a nurse anesthetist would be a natural fit for you too. You may think anesthetists don't have much patient contact or impact, but that is not true. I have had two babies via c-section and the most memorable professional during my entire 48-hour labor with my first child was my amazing/personable/comforting/hilarious nurse anesthetist. He was unforgettable and made the whole experience so much less stressful for me. These people are so integral to the medical-surgical process.

The median pay in 2017 for both nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists was nearly $111,000 annually. In addition, the demand for these professions is projected to grow by 31% over the next 8 years, which is a much faster growth rate than the national average of 7 percent for all jobs. (Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/n...ctitioners.htm)

Good luck with whatever you choose!
That's an excellent field to get into. She's correct. The salary range is high.
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Old 27th May 2018, 11:13 PM   #9
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I'm with CO on this one.

I have a BS in chemistry, and went back for my RN. I've done 20+ years in surgical nursing, and now pediatric home care.

If my main concern was money, I'd go for the CRNA. I'll mention the downsides of it for you tho, since I've spent a lot of time in ORs.

Long, tedious cases can make for boredom. Yes, you have to keep your patient stable, but...

I've witnessed a CRNA trimming his toenails up behind the curtain! If you don't enjoy being COLD, it's not for you (and wouldn't have been for me, now that I'm thinking about it). Operating rooms are kept cool; cardio ORs are frigid. We nurses wore paths to the blanket warmer dragging blankets to CRNAs.

In a fast paced high turnover environment, it might be okay, but there's no way I could endure an entire shift in one surgical case, only to turn it over to my relief person! Labor and delivery would absolutely be the best choice; that's where most of my CRNA friends have ended up.

Brrr, I'm cold just thinking about it.

Good luck to you!
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Well, bless your heart.

Last edited by MidwestUSA; 27th May 2018 at 11:15 PM..
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Old 29th May 2018, 1:53 PM   #10
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Look into coding for a living by joining a coding boot camp. Some will charge you after you graduate, give scholarships, or loan opportunities. They last 3 - 9 months depending on the program you do.

The starting salary around where I live is 80k/year. I can't praise this career choice enough for women, although I am assuming your gender. You could get a job coding at a hospital, which will likely accept you with your science background.

I do HTML, CSS and JavaScript coding and UI/UX Design for a living myself. I make a 6 figure income and it is very flexible. Let me know what you think of this and I can give more information.
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