I wish I had a photogenic memory or even a comprehensive diary to refer back to.  I remember small detail about the days leading up to the day I decided I to study.  But the finer details have been lost through the years.

I was working in a two-(wo)man travel agency with an inspiring consultant who planted a seed.  J always wanted to be an accountant.  After school she was faced with a decision – travel or accounting – fortunately for me, travel seemed more glamorous.

When she decided to go back to school, I was inspired.  For half moment I thought I could pursue her dream –  I knew I was bright enough to study accounting, but more than that, I knew I would never be fulfilled as an accountant.  Luckily half a moment was long enough to convince me to study something.

Tasked with a mission and faced with a deadline, I made a list.  One very clever website suggested a career portfolio – similar to a CV or resume, however much more comprehensive and a way of aligning your current employment activities with what you would like to achieve in the long run.  My source suggested making a list of all the things you like doing and then matching it with a course that would satisfy as many of these items as possible.

I would credit the source if I could, but I can’t so instead I will share the wisdom with the hope of inspiring someone else…

My list was something like this:

  • teach and develop people
  • listen to and motivate others
  • counsel and guide people to be better versions of themselves
  • a little creativity
  • a problem to solve – something technical and challenging!
  • something that would pay the bills and enable me to give my son the best possible future

Side note:  I have no memory of the full accurate list I had, a photogenic memory sure would help right here!  Furthermore I have no recollection of the actual author / website that gave me the advice that changed my life and shaped my career.  

J guided me in choosing a business degree – something that would serve me well regardless of the major.  I decided to looked at the list of Bcom degrees offered by UNISA.  Tourism management would have been the obvious choice given my environment.  But something else caught my attention.  I was forced to google the meaning and the day to day activity of an industrial psychologist.

It was one of those perfectly timed moments where everything just made sense.  I could tick every one of the items off my list in one way or another.  I decided to study industrial and organisational psychology!

The first year foundation subjects of all bcom degrees are either exactly the same or very similar similar.  J and I enrolled at the same time, for the same subjects and started this long- long journey together.   The unknown task of studying through an open distance university wasn’t quite as scary anymore.  Since then there have been plenty of ups, downs, frustrations and victories!

My  journey ended this week.  I stood on stage with a hat and a gown and received a fancy piece of paper.

Wearing the hat and gown

Joan, thank you for that first first half moment.  And thank you for every other moment since then!  This is not the end, it is just the beginning.

There are many other people who have pushed and motivated me along the way.  I salute you, I thank you, I love you!

 Picture credit

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