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My Career Search Part Four

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Lela has had many wonderful adventures in her life. This is my story...

Medical Laboratory Technician, American Society of Clinical Pathologists (MLT)

Chemistry Department - Analyzing blood is automated now.

Chemistry Department - Analyzing blood is automated now.

Working a Full Time Job and Going to College With a Full Class Schedule!

You will probably not believe this part of my story, but it is so very true, and I have tax returns to prove it. In Houston, I worked as a Medical Laboratory Technician, "Med Tech" for four and a half years, weekends only. That wasn't the unbelievable part, this is - I worked 32 straight hours every weekend! My hours were from 11p.m. Friday night, until 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Then I threw my air bed on the floor of an empty office and slept for 8 hours before driving back to Huntsville to begin my school week.

How Many Hours Have You Worked Without Stopping at One Job?

Dan Rather, My Hero!

Dan Rather graduated from Sam Houston State University and this encouraged me to choose this college in Huntsville, TX

Dan Rather graduated from Sam Houston State University and this encouraged me to choose this college in Huntsville, TX

My Days at Sam Houston State University

In the section above, I relate my new working career of 32-hour shifts every weekend to put me through college. Yes, I really did this! It was very hard and left no time for a social life. I did have four vacation weeks per year, taken during school holidays and at work concurrently. It was still tough, and I am surprised I made it.

Strangely enough, I did not have to major in Medical Technology, I just needed a Bachelor's degree in something, plus years of experience in order to qualify for my Medical Laboratory Scientist1 license under a grandfather clause in the license requirements.

I considered the following majors and minors over the MLS degree:

  1. Journalism - maybe I would become a reporter like my hero.
  2. English - of course I would need good language skills
  3. Criminal Justice - whoa! I circled back to that one again!
  4. Spanish - I was pretty sure I could make good grades here.
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I chose Journalism, with minors in English and Spanish. I really considered becoming a newspaper journalist. Dan Rather was one of the more noted SHSU alumni. My father had been a Photo Engraver, a career I considered, but is now obsolete.

My third and fourth year of college required two classes in photojournalism. Although it was too late to change my major, I found that I loved photography the most of all the classes I took. I did do some professional photography2 in Hawaii to supplement the high cost of living there for 2 years. More about this later.

My Last Year at Sam

A fellow photography student took this photo using my camera. I developed the black and white roll!

A fellow photography student took this photo using my camera. I developed the black and white roll!

After Graduation

After I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, I ended up back in Corsicana, reunited with my son, and actually found a paying job in Medical Technology. I still worked weekends only, but not in a 32 hours stretch again (never again). This gave me more time to spend with my son, as well as contributed to the required number of experience years I needed to become a Medical Laboratory Scientist.

This article covered up to my late 20s. In the next installment, I will tell you about the decision to move to Maui, and what I found there.

References

  1. Medical Laboratory Scientists - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  2. Photographers - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

© 2022 Lela

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