COVID may alter a career choice

The all-too-real impact of the pandemic weighs heavily for this student.

Our elder suggests seeking expert opinions before making any decisions.

Dear EWC:

Hello, I am a 16-year-old female that will be going into her junior year of High School. Recently my counselor called me and was telling me about how the classes I opted to take I will not be able to take online since I chose to do that. The two classes are biomedical and health science classes that will help me gain a little insight into the medical field (I want to be a pathologist).

If I choose to go to school I would have to appear twice a week and the other three days I would do online instruction. I’m worried about this for multiple reasons. For one, I have asthma and another breathing problem that would make it quite hard for me to wear a mask all day (our district has mandated this and will be enforcing it). For a second concern, my mother is a nurse and will be actively working with COVID whenever I start school. I don’t want to spread anything to her or vice versa. I’m also worried about the way I would get to school since before COVID I would take the bus, but it’s so crowded and it will only become more full as the years go on.

On the other hand if I take online school I would lose the two classes and would have to take two completely unnecessary classes that would basically be a waste of a semester. Sorry for all the spelling and grammatical errors. I was in a rush to type this!

BES replies:

What have you and your mother discussed? What are her thoughts about this? Have you discussed this with your family doctor?
I can certainly understand your worries but you may want to think about your career choice. I am not sure if a pathologist is a profession that would normally require one to wear a mask to do your work or not? If so, then you would have to do so for the rest of your career. How do you feel about that possibility?

You seem to have chosen a potential field that requires hands-on lab work that is likely why you are needed to be there in person. There is no safe and consistent way to conduct any experiments in your own home. It’s not just learning things out of a textbook.
Do you wear a mask now when not in your home? How do you do with it if you do?
I can’t tell you what to do except to suggest you discuss this with people who have your health concerns on their minds. Ask your school what health precautions they plan to take to protect the safety of students and staff. Will they take the temperatures of everyone daily?

Good luck with your decision. It won’t be easy.


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