A blog by Elizabeth Kelly, a student therapeutic radiographer at Sheffield Hallam University .
My Quarter Life Crisis?
How early is too early for a midlife crisis?
2019 had to have been the hardest year I’d ever had. I’d been working in community pharmacy for a number of years after leaving school, doing my Equine Science degree alongside. I had always wanted to work with animals, after all, they do say if you make your job your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.
But what happens when the job you were doing to fund your studies becomes your new passion? I loved helping people, problem solving and working with science! If it’s happened to you too I’m sure you’ll remember the sense of dread as you think to yourself; “What have I done? I’ve ruined my life.” Yes, at 22 I truly thought I’d royally messed this one up! The icing on the cake was a 2-year bout of mental health struggles that wouldn’t seem to shift.
So, I decided it was time for some soul searching. I finished off my second year of my three-year degree and took time out of study to peruse my options.
Picture taken on my hiatus, on a regular ‘contemplation walk’.
No, as someone who turns a funny shade of green at the sight of needles, this isn’t the profession for me.
At the time I hardly knew anything about the 14 AHPs, it was never brought up at careers talks at school and I didn’t really come into contact with any AHPs. But one AHP profession I’ve definitely met a few times: Radiographers. As an avid horse rider I have limped the corridors of the local hospitals X-ray department many times, I’d always assumed nurses did X-rays! So, I did some shadowing at that same local department (and no, they didn’t recognise me thankfully!). It was great! But it wasn’t until I had a conversation with a lovely radiographer that I learnt there were two versions of a radiographer, diagnostic and therapeutic.
Picture is one of the said naughty horses that sent me to A&E!
Like many, our family has experienced cancer, I wanted to be a part of that pathway. I loved the technology, the science, the patient care… it was all there! I sat at home researching avidly, this really seemed the profession for me.
So I did it.
I put in my UCAS application.
And you wouldn’t believe everything I’ve achieved since gaining a place on my Radiotherapy and Oncology degree at Sheffield Hallam University.
I’ve not only learnt so much on the course (it’s so intense!), but I’ve done so much that I never even thought I could. I’ve become a student representative attending departmental meetings and working as a team with my fellow student rep!
I’ve applied for the Council of Deans of Health’s Student Leadership Programme in the hopes of becoming one of the 150 leaders. I’ve been nominated for two Inspirational Student Awards at Sheffield Hallam University (along with many other fabulous Radiotherapy and Oncology students). I’ve attended so many extra-curricular webinars, conferences and guest sessions and learnt so much from the speakers! And now, I’m writing this blog.
All in eight months.
I cannot believe how much my life has changed in a year. The path to becoming a Therapeutic Radiographer has given me a purpose in life and I’ve found my true passion. So, if you’re just like me, thinking it’s all gone to pot… It hasn’t and you can still achieve something great.
I don’t think I’ll be having a mid-life crisis from here.
Of course I wouldn’t be where I am without a few people: My fiancé Elliot (for letting me have my mid-life crisis), our families for supporting us always, my lovely colleagues in pharmacy (special thanks to Taz P for writing my letter of recommendation) and of course all the lovely lecturers at SHU who keep pushing us to be the best we can be.
Bonus picture of Me!