by: Rebecca Taylor

“What good is this ever going to do me?” said Deirdre Snow slamming her locker door at Dreams High School. “High Math, Physics, Chemistry, I’m never going to use it.”

“Deirdre, you need to treat school property in a kinder fashion. When you graduate in June, then you will be able to decide how to use your school subjects, but while you are here, you will refrain from such outbreaks of anger. Might I suggest you see the guidance counsellor, she can help you figure out how to make some decisions about your future career.”

“Yes, sir, Mr. Hall, I’m sorry for slamming my locker.” Of course, he’d think all that stuff was important, he teaches the stuff. He seems to enjoy making people figure out useless facts. What good will knowing stuff like trigonometry, the speed of light and how electricity works? It might be all right for an electrician or something but I don’t want to do that.

“Quite alright, everyone has their moments. Just don’t do it in the future.”

            One more class until lunch, English, at least that isn’t so bad, I actually use it.

Deirdre made an appointment to see the guidance counsellor; she figured that if nothing else it would help her stay on Mr. Hall’s good side, he was the senior class leader and he taught many of her classes. He was a kind man when you respected him and the establishment where he worked but you didn’t want to get him angry. Gordon Hall had one purpose at Dreams High and that was to teach his students plenty of knowledge so that they could go far in life. He knew they could all accomplish something, even when some of them doubted it.

When Deirdre got to Libby Creatin, the guidance counsellor’s office, she was told by the administrative secretary, Lavender Rose that Ms. Creatin was with another student at the moment. Deirdre sat down, but as the minutes ticked by, she couldn’t help feeling annoyed, it was Art class, she didn’t mind it.

Why couldn’t it be one of those classes, I’m never going to use, not one I actually like, I bet I’ll miss my next class too, Gym, not so bad.

“Uh, how long are they going to be?” said Deirdre angrily, tossing the magazine back down on the table.

“I don’t know, Deirdre, sometimes it takes a while longer than planned, I’m sure it won’t be much longer, Ms. Creatin rebooks appointments when they are taking up too much of a student’s class time,” said Lavender Rose

“Well, if mine needs to be rebooked make sure it happens during Chemistry, Physics, or High Math, those I can live without.”

“Those are important classes; you wouldn’t want to get behind in them.”

“I’d end up with a bundle of homework but at least I wouldn’t have to sit there listening to the awful stuff. I didn’t want to take it in the first place; it just ended up this way because of my grades and other classes.”

“You never know where you might end up or what you might end up using. Ask a medical office administrator if she ever meant to use her Chemistry or Physics, which she ended up taking in a situation similar to yours and she may very well tell you no, but she did use them, and they helped her get where she is today,” replied Lavender.

“How do you know?”

“I went to school with a girl very much like you and that’s what she was taking. She knew that there were medical things to learn but she didn’t realize how much the person at the other end of the telephone, when you call your doctor really had to learn. You’d be amazed. She said, ‘everything comes into play, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, French, Leadership, and Math. I took pretty much everything I learned in high school and turned it into something, and you do, typing medical reports, especially those with words like choledocholithiasis.’ That just goes to show how important your high school education really is, even though you probably think it is just something you have to do until you can go to college or something and get a job and start making money. ”

“Collie whatever, is that some sort of strange dog?” asked Deirdre.

“No, and it isn’t even spelled like the dog, here I’ll show you, she wrote it down for me and I’ve never forgotten it. It means gallstones in the common bile duct.”

“Why don’t they just say that?”

“I don’t know, I bet she wished they did, not only does she have to know what it means, she has to write and pronounce it. It is nineteen letters long.”

“It makes me tired looking at it.”

“Me too, but she needed to know it, and she managed. Some days she thought it might give her a nervous breakdown but she got through it and now works at the hospital in the ER. She’s very happy doing what she does.”

“Wow, I thought a medical administrator was like any other administrator, but they have to know a lot. I definitely don’t want to be one of them.”

“Her motto is you never know, and you never know what you’ll be doing. Just remember that when you’re talking to Ms. Creatin.”

“I’ll try but I just don’t know what to do,” answered Deirdre.

“That’s why you’re here,” replied Lavender, just before Ms. Creatin called Deirdre.

“How may I help you today, Deirdre?” asked Ms. Creatin.

“I can’t stand Chemistry, Physics, and High Math, I know that it is January and I have about five months left before finals but I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t see why I’d ever use them but Miss Rose says that I never know when I might use them but really how could I ever, they are so complicated.”

“They are useful, obviously to some people more than others, but useful all the same. They are of use to you though; they give you all the options, with those three subjects you can do anything you want. You can take any program. The doors are open.”

“Yeah, too open,” retorted Deirdre. “I don’t have a clue what I want to do, let alone being able to do anything.”

“That’s what you’re here for, you wouldn’t need me if you knew,” answered Ms. Creatin. “First of all I’m going to ask you a few questions to get you thinking about what you want to do.”

“Okay.”

“What are your interests?”

“I like helping people because a lot of times it makes them smile; reading, fashion, and animals.”

“That’s a really good start, Deirdre. Have you got any idea of where you want to be in ten years?”

“The most important thing is that I’m happy, wherever I may be. I know that I want to be finished school a lot sooner than ten years from now.”

“Okay, how many more years of school are you willing to complete?”

“I’d say four years at the most, no more than that. I want to be working when I’m twenty-one.”

“Have you ever really dreamt of having a certain career?”

“I’ve thought about different ones, they changed a lot, once I thought I’d like to be an actress, but I don’t think so anymore. I thought about something in fashion but I hate sewing and I can’t draw very well. I think it could be fun as a pastime but not as a career.”

“Have you any idea right now of the field you want to go into?”

“I haven’t a clue.”

“What is your favourite subject?”

“Leadership.”

“Well,” said Ms. Creatin, “my guess is that you’ll want to do something that lets you help people, so let’s concentrate on that. I have a few quizzes and magazines that you can take with you to get you started thinking about it. Why don’t you make an appointment with Miss Rose for two weeks from now and we’ll take it from there.”

“Okay, thank you, Ms. Creatin.”

“You’re welcome, Deirdre, see you soon.”

Deirdre did the quizzes and read the articles in the career magazines. It gave her a lot to think about it. She couldn’t wait to see Ms. Creatin again. She made a list of a few careers that she wanted to talk to her about.

  1. Teacher
  2. Nurse’s Aid
  3. Career Counsellor
  4. Rehab Counsellor

“Hi, Deirdre,” said Ms. Creatin.

“Hi, I can’t tell you how much you helped me the last time I came in to see you. Before I met with you, I was so frustrated with everything I guess, I thought it was just the tougher school subjects but I think it was really not knowing what I wanted out of my life. I’m not minding Chemistry, Physics, and Math so much now, because I know that I can get into a lot of schools easier by having them even if I don’t want to use them.”

“Yes, you can. Have you any ideas on what you want to do?”

“I know that I belong in the working with people category, I made a list of four careers I might want to have. One is a teacher, but I really don’t know if I want to work with kids all day. I like people but all those students in one room, I don’t know if that is really for me. I can’t take some days of it as a student when Sean, Ryan, and Seth are acting up.”

“Deirdre, how would you rate your patience level?”

“It isn’t too bad but I can get frustrated pretty easily.”

“Teaching may not be for you then, you have to have an amazing patience level, and if the students see you get frustrated, they only work harder to get you more stressed.”

“Okay, scratch teacher, I also have got nurse’s aid; they help people but it has a science element to it and if I had to change diapers or something I don’t think I’d like it.”

“If you don’t think you’ll like it, don’t do it. Being happy is the most important part.”

“Number three, career counsellor, I know what you did for me and think that I could help other people. It is a more one on one position and there is no science.”

“I think it is a good choice, although perhaps I am a bit biased when it comes to the work of a career counsellor being as I do it. Have any other ideas?”

“Rehab counsellor.”

“That can be good career, at times very rewarding, when finally the person is rehabilitated and able to understand how much they needed help, but depending on where you work you can be dealing with some pretty angry people because they think that they are all right  and don’t need your help. It can be emotionally difficult work.”

“I’m not sure if I could do that, I hate watching people suffer.”

“I think we all do, but some people are more capable of dealing with it.”

“I don’t think I could, I think I’ll just be a guidance counsellor and help people find the right job for them. What schooling do I need to do that?”

“There are lots of different routes but the one I recommend for you is a three year diploma at New Heights College. It is the fastest route to become a career counsellor and the educators are excellent.”

“Do they have a website or booklet that I can look at?”

“Yes, and I can give you their catalogue and information package if you decide to apply.”

“Thank you that would be great.”

April rolled around and the graduating class staff meeting was held. Thaelin Grainger, principal; Gordon Hall, senior class advisor; Libby Creatin, guidance counsellor and Lavender Rose, Libby’s administrative secretary gathered at a round table.

“Okay,” said Thaelin, “we have forty-seven graduates this year, we have to talk about all of them, it doesn’t have to be lengthy if everything seems satisfactory but we at least have to touch base.”

“Okay, let’s start,” said Gordon, “Lavender, who is at the top of the list.”

“Jen Adams.”

“Okay, Jen is an average student, she’s doing well except she’s struggling in French…,” and so the conversation continued until Deirdre’s name was called.

“Deirdre has improved significantly since the start of the year,” said Gordon, “her outlook on life has greatly improved.”

“We’ve talked a lot about her future and she is going to be attending New Heights College in September, taking career counselling, she just wants to be happy.”

“She’ll make it,” said Thaelin, “she knows what’s important now and will strive for it.”

Graduation arrived and Deirdre and the rest of her classmates finished an important step in their lives and moved onto the next step.

Deirdre started school at New Heights College in September and was an inspiration to everyone she met. For three years she strived in her school work, she volunteered at local organizations promoting education and careers in order to gain experience in her chosen field and was truly happy. Eventually, her college graduation came around and Deirdre walked across the stage to receive her diploma in Career Counselling with honours. Her parents, college professors, Lavender Rose, Libby Creatin, and Gordon Hall were all in attendance. Much to Deirdre’s surprise, she had been selected as valedictorian. Her speech was short but full of promise. She said:

No matter where we may go and what we may do, we must be happy. It is up to each of us to choose our own paths. Never think that something you are doing or learning is useless because as I was taught a while ago, you never know when you might use some piece of information which you believe time consuming and totally insignificant, it is perhaps this information which will carry you the farthest. When you wake up in the morning smile, and when you go to bed at night smile, for your happiness will be your greatest treasure.

I dedicate this to all the students who will be going back for another semester in a week or two. Good luck 🙂 

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