Education vs. Emily

When I was nineteen and freshly graduated from high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Absolutely ZERO clue.

Growing up in an orthodox Mormon household, I was taught that it was good to get an education in case you get divorced or your husband dies. “Something to fall back on,” My mom would always say. She got married soon after her 20th birthday and popped out four kids in five years.

So, I just thought I’d kill time and wait for Prince Charming. I’ve found out many years later that this is a very toxic way of thinking.

I loved writing, so my first major was English. I enjoyed it and wanted to continue, but my parents encouraged me to pursue more profitable careers. AKA, they didn’t think a degree in English was worth anything. So, I changed my major to Special Education. The field was interesting, but the urge to write was still there. I switched my major to public relations.

Social media was just coming to fruition at this time, so, a lot of my classes were new and taught by the same professor. Other classes in the major were unbearable, like the history of newspapers and media. My media law class was a doozy, I got an A on one paper and an F on the next.

After that F, I began to question everything. Maybe I should just give up and get a go-nowhere job. By this time, I was engaged to Mr. Right. He encouraged me to go after my dreams. The recession was in full effect, and my only dream was to have a job. I quickly took enough online classes to get an Associates degree and got the hell out of school.

Newlywed struggles and my impulsive credit card swiping determined that I needed a better career than being a piano teacher. Also, I hated teaching piano, but it was the only trade I seemingly possessed. I began researching trade schools and community college, but not for my passion; for whatever career paid well and I could afford the tuition. I decided on medical coding and began taking night classes.

To make a long story short, I worked my behind off. I found breaking into the medical coding field in the valley I grew up in very daunting. After I took my first certification (three months after I gave birth!) I began work in medical records in hopes that one day a coding job would open up. A year later I got my wish, I beat out 30 applicants. Two years after that I was able to work remotely from home, the dream. Right?

Presently, I’m 33 and have been coding for over 6 years. I’ve since left the toxic thinking of the mormon church, as has my husband. We’re free to think for ourselves, and I’ve realized that I only have one life. I better do what I want. I’m focused on advocating for my daughters and making sure they go after their dreams from day one. So far, my seven year old wants to be a wildlife conservationist.

So. At 33, eight years after earning my associates and two autistic daughters later, I’m going back to school for a bachelor’s in creative writing with a minor in women’s studies. I’ve never been more excited! Not only have I written two novels and am querying them, I’m pursuing classes that I’m passionate about and a degree that’ll show people in the business that I’m serious.

Thanks for reading through my story. It’s been a long time coming.

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