20something profile: Meaghan
I graduated from Ithaca College in May 2011. I majored in English and minored in Integrative Health Studies. Ideally, what I’d like to do is to be involved in Integrative/Holistic Healthcare, which includes modalities such as Acupuncture, Nutrition, Chiropractic Care, Reiki, Herbal Medicine, etc.
I’m still figuring out if I’d like to be a Practitioner of a Holistic Modality working directly with patients as a Doctor/Therapist, etc., and if so, what modality I’d choose to study and practice. I’m also interested in the writing and research aspect of Holistic healthcare: questioning and researching the safety and efficacy of alternative therapies, as well as how they can be integrated into/with allopathic healthcare.
After I graduated, I served a 6-month term with AmeriCorps: Rural Health Service Corps as a Rural Health Associate at the Northern Tioga Center for Family Health in Richford, NY. Since I’m interested in healthcare, I figured it would be a good opportunity to learn more about how a medical office works and the kinds of healthcare challenges present in rural communities. I gained useful work skills serving in Richford, and the experience raised some important questions for me about whether or not I’d really like to work in a doctor-patient setting.
Since my time at Richford, I haven’t had a job, but I attribute that to personal health challenges I’ve had to take time out to deal with versus the economy. As I’ve been feeling better, I’ve been making more efforts to network and reach out to different healthcare practitioners. I shadowed for a day at a Nutritional Wellness Center in Ithaca, NY, which I found really helpful.
I also completed a three-month class to become a certified Reiki Master Practitioner; I did it out of a deep personal interest, but I also feel it will be a useful skill to have when interviewing with holistic practitioners/practices, and I may provide Reiki treatments as a way to make extra money. I plan to shadow more practitioners when I move back to New Jersey.
Ithaca has a pretty big “Holistic” community, so I never really felt hopeless about job opportunities here, even though it is a smaller city. I feel like New Jersey will have even more job opportunities, and also more writing/research-related jobs. I’ve also gotten some contacts in the Medical writing/research fields and may do some shadowing at these locations as well.
I’ve been working with a personal coach about the next steps to take with job-searching (my dad works with her and she offered to help for free), and she recommended that I do some exploratory interviews in New Jersey at nearby hospitals that offer Integrative Healthcare services.
Overall, I don’t feel hopeless about beginning a career regardless of today’s economy, and to be honest, I don’t pay all that much attention to it. I know the economy is not great right now, and I don’t expect to be making a great deal of money at my first job, which is a big reason why I’m moving back home with my family: I won’t have to spend money on rent.
Sometimes when I think about finding a career in this economy, I feel anxious and overwhelmed; I worry that I will have to settle for a job I don’t like because I can’t find anything else, or that I will be stuck living at home for longer than I’d like because I don’t make enough money. But I feel like I would probably have similar concerns even in a “good” economy. Therefore, I’m just trying to stay positive, make connections within the field I’m interested in, and just take this whole “paving myself a path and a career” process day by day.