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Dad: Why don’t you chose nursing as your major?

Me: If I’m going to be a nurse I may as well be a doctor.

That was it; that was how the decision was made, during my freshmen year of college. It was not one of those stories that start off “all of my life this is what I wanted to do” or “as a little girl operation was my favorite game.” Actually, as a girl I pondered over the idea of being a Cosmetologist. I had learned to do many different hairstyles at a very young age, by playing with a doll (with a full head of hair) my mother purchased for me.

Doing hair and make-up, that was my dream as a little girl.

The decision to choose the healthcare field slowly snowballed during my last two years of high school. My school, like a few others in the area, offered a vocational program with various technical “majors” and at the completion of the two-year program we would get certified in the field of our choosing along with our high school diploma. The majors varied from Early Childhood to Culinary Arts, Cosmetology and Certified Nursing Assistant. After being accepted into the program, with no hesitations I chose cosmetology to be my field of study.

This decision did not sit so well with my father. Coming from a very Liberian home, once my father found out that I had chosen “hair over healthcare” he was not pleased. The conservation went something like this:

Dad: MINA! GO OVER TO THAT SCHOOL TOMORROW AND SWITCH INTO THE CNA PROGRAM! How do you expect to make a good living fixing hair? Healthcare is a lucrative field. There will always be jobs.

Me: Yes daddy.

So I did. I made the switch in to the CNA program. Completed the program along with my High School Diploma in June of 2009. Thinking back now, I worked very briefly as a CNA but it was a very good experience and the knowledge acquired is still very useful to this day. During the training, I grain a new appreciation for people and their disabilities.

Growing up as a West African education was at the very top of our lives goal. Our parents believe that it was the only way to a better life, God first of course. My father would always say “they can take everything away from you but knowledge, that’s yours forever once you’ve gained it.”

Many years ago we migrated to the United States as immigrants, my parents had a dream for their children, I’m sure as most parents do. They dreamed that we lead much better lives than they did. In every aspect of life including but not limited to career, family, wealth and comfort. With this in mind we were shaped to achieve top goals. I always jokingly say: “I have been bread as a survivor, all I know how to do is survive”

The things he said was all done in love to keep us from making mistakes that may later become regrets. At that point of my freshman year at Widener University I went through a pseudo rebellious phase with my father. I felt that he had made all of my decisions for me so the thought of being a doctor instead of a nurse, as my father had suggested, was my way of rebelling; I did not want my father to again make that decision for me. So I thought “my career will be my decision.” Little did I know, God had a plan for my life and everything was going according to his prefect plan and purpose.

It has not been the easiest decision, but it is one I am so glad I made.

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In no way is this post meant to be demeaning to Nurses or Cosmetologist. To this day I still love cosmetology, in this day and age which lady doesn’t. With much thanks to “YouTube University” I have been able to gradually improve on my hair and make-up scales. As for nursing I sometimes which that I had become a Nurse before entering medical school, maybe it would have made things a little easier.

Photo credit:  1st, 2nd 

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