Allison: Starting A New Chapter In My Life

Many of you may have noticed that I haven’t been very active on Good Books and Good Wine lately. This is partially because I have been busy with work and life in general but also because I’ve been doing some personal soul searching. Why? Well, as some of you might know, I graduated from graduate school with my master’s degree in women’s studies in 2011, and decided to take a break and figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. At that point, I was just completely fried physically, mentally, and emotionally after spending the past 19 years in school (K-12 and then 6 years of college) and I was in desperate need of a break.

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Flash forward to two years later…

For the past two years, I have been working part time as a personal care aide at an adult home for the elderly. I first started working there on a summer break from college in 2008. I’ve worked in almost all aspects of the home – kitchen, housekeeping, and personal care – and have found that personal care is by far my favorite. I love interacting with the residents, and being able to have a real relationship with all of them on an individual basis. Of course this isn’t always the easiest thing as there are multiple factors that can get in the way. Regardless, connecting with each of our residents on a one-on-one basis is always a highlight for me, and nothing makes my job worth more to me than hearing one of them saying “thank you” or “you’re such a wonderful person” or “I don’t know what I would do without you” or even”I love you.”

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this job is only part-time. Sometimes (more times than not actually), I am able to pull full time hours however; one of the things I don’t get with these hours is the benefits. At first this didn’t matter to me as much because I was lucky enough to still be on my mother’s heath insurance but, when I turned 26 in August things began to change. I was no longer qualified to be on her heath insurance due to my age and thus, I have been without health insurance for over two months now. And sadly, nothing I do at my job seems to be getting me the ability to receive full time and benefits.

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As you can see, I’ve kind of stuck in a rut, and I didn’t exactly know how to get out of it. And without really knowing it, I began to do a lot of soul searching. What was it I wanted to do with my life again? At first, I had decided I wanted to be some sort of therapist or counselor thus explaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology. And while in college, I came across some classes in women’s studies that I really liked, and decided I wanted to further my education in that and do something that also was pro-equal rights for all. Yet when I was all finished with my degree, I was too burnt out to fully discover what it was I wanted to do with this equal rights psychological persona that I had developed.  I was admittedly probably a little scared too. But really what was I so scared of? Wasn’t it time to get over the fears and really do something with my life? Yes. Yes, it was.

So, slowly I started putting together a plan. What is it that I love doing, and could see myself doing for the next twenty years of my life at least? Almost immediately I knew it was helping the elderly. Okay I thought so what kind of jobs are out there where I could do this knowing I made a difference in their lives and still being realistic about it get paid well, and get benefits? Insert an internet search where I came up with job positions such an elderly advocate, resident services manager, and social worker for the elderly. Hello, jackpot! Except wait, did I have the credentials for these jobs? Yes, I had the college education and the work experience but, I still felt as if something were missing.

At first I couldn’t put my finger on what was missing but slowly it came to me. In all of my college education, I had only touched the surface of the information out there regarding the elderly population. Yes, I had the personal experience but, I just couldn’t help but feel as if I’m lacking the theoretical knowledge.  So, began another internet search where I stumbled upon the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology website. From the moment, I first looked at this website I had the strongest feeling that this was the right move, and the more I looked into the program, I knew I had found the one that could help me reach my strongest potential.

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*gasp* Could I really be considering going back to school? Could I really be considering online classes? I couldn’t believe it myself at first but it felt like the right move. It still feels like the right move. So, I gathered up all my resources, asked for my letters of recommendation, and applied to the program. This was honestly one of the most nerve racking things I’ve ever done. I was literally shaking when I submitted my application for review by the committee. And was it worth it? YES! I got accepted!

Starting in January 2014, I will be taking online classes at the University Of Southern California Davis School Of Gerontology for my master of the arts degree in Gerontology. This program will take me approximately 15 months to complete, and when I’m finished I will have my second master’s degree. I’m still having trouble processing that bit of information because it sounds so crazy but it will be true. I truly believe this is the right step for me, and that I will be able to help the elderly and be more pro-active in their lives when I am finished.

Don’t you all worry though; I still plan on trying to help April out here at Good Books and Good Wine as much as I can. She’s already told me not to worry about it but I really don’t want to go. Book blogging has been an adventure that I never really saw coming but that I am so grateful for and have absolutely loved. I’m so not ready to leave yet! And hopefully you all will be here to help me through this next chapter in my life…

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. I think the question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” will always plague us, no matter what age we are at. I didn’t discover my career path until I was 28 years old. I had done the whole college thing straight out of high school.. spent way too much time & money not knowing what I wanted to do.. so I took a break & went to work random jobs for about 5 years. Then one day it dawned on me what I wanted to DO with myself, and that is become a teacher 🙂 I will finish my Bachelors in Education next December and hope to have a teaching position in January of 2015. It’s surreal to think my plans and hard work are coming full circle. But man, what an amazing feeling it is.

    Allison, you can succeed at anything you set your mind to. I firmly believe that. When you have a passion for something, which you clearly do, the mission becomes reality and the adventure is so worthwhile. Best of luck to you!

    • Thank you so much Ginger! I do think the question of “what do I want to be when I grow up” may still plague me a little bit but I do feel as if I’m heading in the right direction. I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your schooling, and the beginning of your teaching career. I’m sure you will do amazing! <3

  2. I struggle with the same thing, Allison, except I’ve been out of college for the last 6 years and STILL don’t have a clue. I really struggle with what am I good at versus what I’m qualified for versus what I actually want to do and none of it really adds up to anything specific. At least you’ve found something that makes you happy and you’re taking the extra steps needed to get there. We spend the bulk of our time at our jobs so at minimum, you have to at least LIKE what you do. Unfortunately for me, I do not. It’s a constant struggle and blogging has become my outlet (when I can blog, that is), but I do hope that one day I can find something as fulfilling as you have. Bottom line: You’re doing something you’re passionate about and that’s a truly wonderful thing! I hope the rest of us can be as lucky as you! Congratulations!

    • Thank you so much, Nikki! I also struggled with the whole what I’m good at versus what I’m qualified thing too. I truly do believe that I’ve finally figured it out though. Hopefully, you will be able to as well. It may take time but don’t give up! <3

  3. Good for you! I’m glad that something clicked and you know what you want to do now. You have a plan to get there and that is usually the hardest part – making the plan. I wish you the best of luck in your studies and the future that it opens up for you!

  4. Good for you!! I was a CNA for about a year and while I loved the job, it also broke my heart on a daily basis. You see so much sadness working in a care center, and when you can’t fix things it can be depressing. I’m a stay at home mom now, but I admire anyone with the passion you have to be a driving force in helping out these wonderful people. Good luck! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Sassy! 😀 Working with the elderly isn’t always easy but I honestly can’t imagine do anything else right now. I just feel a connection with them and I have to trust that it is the right thing to do even if it is a bit heartbreaking at times.

  5. Congratulations on taking the time and effort and soul searching to find out what you want to do! And then to pursue it and get accepted! Congratulations to you!

    I will miss your voice on here, but of course April was totally cool about it and I can’t wait to see where life takes you. Real life and bookish life!

    • Thank you so much, Lisa! Don’t worry though, I’m not planning on going too far. I still plan on writing reviews and keeping up with things on here as much as I can without letting it interfere with my school work. I think it’ll be a good outlet to have! 🙂

  6. I am currently in my last semester of university, graduating from journalism, and it took me this long to realize it’s not what I really want to do. After looking after my grandmother who has dementia and is wheelchair-bound for three years, I’ve started considering working for the elderly too. I love the connection I have with her and I’ve gotten really good with caring for her. But I’m also leaning towards teaching. I love children and my mom’s an elementary teacher and I’ve always wanted to be around kids but she deterred me from it because it’s “way too much work.”
    So now I’m stuck. The only type of journalism I’d want to do is to work in a publishing company, but the only ones in Canada are in Ontario, which is so far from me. Not to mention I’m not a fan of Toronto.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m happy you’ve finally found your passion! It’s a great feeling and I wish you all the luck in your studies! I’m so excited for you 🙂

    • Thank you so much Lauren! I’m so excited about this new journey. I hope that one day soon you are able to find what it is your really want to do and able to pursue it. I’ll admit, even though there is more pressure on my now with going back to school, it feels like the weight has been taking off my shoulders because I know I’m going back for the right reason. I wish you the best of luck figuring out what your passion is! <3

  7. Not only am I fully supportive of the lovely GIF subjects you used in this post, but I am very happy you are on your way to start something that makes you happy and is so fulfilling. I definitely support anyone who has the guts to follow their dreams, and make their life happy.

    Wishing you all the best! 🙂

    • Thank you so much Estelle! I’m a bit nervous but I’m excited at the prospect of following my dreams where ever it is they may take me. And I’ll admit I had fun picking out the GIFS to use for this post too. 😉

  8. <3333333333

    At least you aren't moving to California so we can still hang out and have long dinners at Dennys or my apartment and talk about random weird things.

    I am so thrilled for your next life chapter.


    • You know you couldn’t get rid of me that easily, lady. Believe me, I very much look forward to our dinners and weird conversations. And don’t worry, I won’t feel pressured to do things for this blog but I will still be here in some capacity — probably when you least expect it knowing me. Thank you so much for all your supporting during this! <3

  9. Congratulations and good luck! You will do great!

  10. Congratulations on taking such a big important step for your life Allison! I’m sure this new adventure will be exciting and wonderful for you, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Please know that I’m thinking of you and sending lots of positive thoughts your way!