Careers

I’d considered becoming an engineer for several years. I have always been interested in computers and how they work. My Dad is an engineer. I did electronics at GCSE. I chose my A-Levels, Physics, Maths, Chemistry and Computing, with Electronic Engineering in mind. From Year 10, more or less, I made every choice with this degree in mind. There was a minor change when I went for a combined mechanical and electrical degree, but *shrug*, it’s still engineering.

I first did First Aid at Junior School. My Mum was a nurse. I didn’t do anything similar until Upper Sixth, when I did another First Aid course. Somehow a lot of what I’d done so many years before had stuck, despite the long time of no practice.

I never considered a medical course of any kind. After all, Biology was the only science I didn’t keep up at college. I don’t think I would make it as a Doctor, my biology was never that good, and I’m not that interest in that kind of medicine.

I went to University to study Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, with a definite emphasis on the latter. The lectures have been interesting (well, most of them) and I’ve had good results during Exams.

But, a good Maths problem is interesting, and I do well at Maths. I wouldn’t want a career in Maths or Finance.  I also do well at my First Aid assessments.

I joined the Organisation in my First Year of University. I went out to every event I could get to, at Uni, and then joined the unit at home for the summer. In my Second Year I was events coordinator for my University unit. I went on almost every duty I organised and all the major events I could cadge a lift to.

In my Third Year, while on placement, I was the chair of my unit. Being in UniTown over the summer meant I could attend even more events than before. I spent hours sweating in a heated minibus looking after hypothermic patients, and rushed around looking in the wrong direction for patients (argh!) and barged through a crowd hunting for a patient, only to be beaten by another team who happened to be wondering past (blast!).

I helped deal with my first major injury at my first major incident that summer, and almost instinctively I loosely took charge of the section of Primary First Aid three others and I had been put in. I got to give medical gases for the first time at this event, and was even asked to help by a member who I’m sure must have been more experienced than I, if less qualified.

There was one patient who was frustrating to deal with as nothing we did had any clinical effect, but I know for certain our presence made him feel better. At one point he seemed certain that he would die, and his fear was quickly picked up on by his young soon. A little hand holding, and a quick bit of rearranging of equipment soon had this idea dispelled, and though we could do nothing for his pain, I would still call this a success.

It was a busy, tiring, slightly stressful day, and yet I absolutely loved it. This was my first vague taste of real emergency First Aid, nearly emergency medicine, and I was hooked. This helped solidify my vague ambition to train to become an ambulance crew, and, unfortunately, sowed the first seeds of doubt at the back of my mind about my choice of career.

I’m not sure if it’s because other things were starting to get me down, or if it’s the increasing frustration with my course, or the slowly growing boredom at work, but I’m starting to get fed up with electronics. Three years ago, I was saying I would never go in to medicine, “too much responsibility”. I didn’t even consider medicine, despite people getting the idea that I would become a doctor. Electronics was all I would do.

Then I joined the Organisation, and it became

“I want to do electronics, but if it all goes wrong I could always go in to nursing. After all I have the care experience.”

“I could never be a paramedic, I couldn’t handle the stress. Though if Uni falls through, I’ll probably go in to nursing.”

Then my course began to become more frustrating. I wanted to do electronics, while gaining a little mechanical experience. My course began to become more mechanics with a little electronics experience.

“I can’t really restart, doing all the basic electronics again would be too frustrating.”

“I’ve spent nearly two years at this, so I’ll stick with it. I’m not going to waste all that time and money now.”

Then I hit my placement year. I went in with high expectations, after all it’s a high-tech robotics business. Except it’s also still, relatively speaking, a start-up, with all the stress, unpaid overtime and general chaos that this creates. They also discovered I’m quite good with computers, and that’s practically all I’ve done since. I realise the company is too small for a special ‘student’ project, but I had hoped to do some real electronics design, not just muck around with computers and programs and putting things together day in and day out.  To describe it as a bit of an anti-climax is a bit of an understatement.

I’m not sure if it’s this job, or the industry, or even the political stresses from the Organisation leaking over, but I’m getting fed up. And worryingly, it’s not just the job I’m currently in. My feelings include pretty much everything electronics, if not the entire field of engineering at the moment.

This is worrying me.

If it’s the job, hopefully the feeling will go away when I restart University in about six months time… If it’s the Organisation politics, I’ll feel mostly better in about nine days when I step down (and yes I’m bloody well counting).

If it’s the industry, this could be problematic.  I still have two more years of University, during which time I have various projects (read: ridiculous amounts of stress that end up with me doing everything because my course mates are rubbish) to do. This may end up pushing me over the edge.

There are a few practicalities to consider before going in to this.  A Paramedic Science degree, which is what I’m leaning to at the moment, is another three or four years of University. This is expensive, and I could end up getting very little financial support from the government, having already done one degree. Also, there is the expectation that I can drive. This is an issue, as I don’t have a driving license, and even if I get one soon (which I am considering) I won’t get much practice between the end of my degree and now. This last one is a big problem.

So now I have a lot to think about, and plans to consider.

This is going to add stress I really don’t need at the moment.

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About The WalkingPlasterDispenser

So who is the Walking Plaster Dispenser? Well, I'm a volunteer First Aider, working with a well-known First Aid charity to help out random people I've never met before (or, more usually, when) they hurt themselves. This typically involves walking briskly (never run...) around after people who are silly enough to do sports or some other suitably daft activity in their free time. In my spare time, I am a graduate engineer, working my way through a graduate scheme with a big engineering company.

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