In high school I knew early on what I wanted to do when I left school. I understood that is was essential to attend university, the necessary school subjects, and that I would have to work incredibly hard. Most of my class mates had no idea of what they wanted to do (some still don't). My path to becoming a radiographer wasn't going to be a walk in the park but I knew that was the direction I was headed.
As a young girl, like most, I aspired to be a ballerina. As I grew up I considered working with animals, deciding on either a zoo keeper or a pet shop owner. Once I realized I would have to clean out the animal droppings I left those ideas behind, moving on to greater ambitions. I had the notion to be a music composer before realizing the melodies I wrote were just a mish-mash of notes making a semblance of music. Eventually I realized that my real interest lay in science except that I couldn't work out what direction to take. Then, in year 10, my first year of physics, I discovered my direction.
The sensation was like being hit in the face by a baseball bat… the one I had been holding all along without realizing it. In the physics classroom I noticed a poster on the wall: 'Careers in Physics' or some such. My eyes scanned the shiny paper indifferently then rested on the word 'radiography'. I stared at the word before forcing my eyes to continue scanning. Soon I realized that my eyes continued to be drawn back to that word. That is when I knew and I haven't left that path since.
When I look back I now see the signs. As a young child I had a human anatomy book for kids, one with see-through pages that layered the organs, muscles, blood vessels and bones. I remember looking over that book multiple times as a child. I would watch ER on TV with my parents. I'm surprised my parents never realized how interested I was in the human body.
One of my main reasons for deciding on radiography is my respect for medical professionals, especially doctors. The task doctors have in diagnosing patients and then healing them, no matter what speciality they are part of, takes extraordinary skill and dedication. You need to be a special person to be able to cope with the pressure. I didn't chose medicine since I do not think I have the patience nor the ability to cope under such stressful situations however, I want to do my part in helping the doctors. Medical imaging is a crucial part to diagnosis and treatment planning for patients and with my love of anatomy, it was the obvious choice for me. This career path also requires a good knowledge of physics in this field, physiology and pathology, and a range of other skills.
And so I am now approaching the end of my third year of my four year bachelor degree in medical imaging. In three weeks I will have finished the theory component of my course with next year being completely composed of clinical placement in hospitals and radiography clinics. I feel as though my life is truly beginning!
Scarlett Van Dijk
How did you know what career was for you?
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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