My name is Claire I am twenty five years old I live at home with my father and Mother while I am training to be a Nurse. My interests are dancing and playing the piano I also have driving lessons and are going to take my test soon. I have a friend [name] who is training to be a nurse too. we camping together and have lots of fun. I hope to pass my tests at the hospital and work in London and be a matron or even higher, My sister is also a nurse in London and has a flat there I hope I can go and stay there when I pass
My father is a doctor and all my family are interested in medicine my mother was a teacher and so was my cousin.
I have a dog and a cat and they both get along together and never fight I also have one Parrot called Polly and a Rabbit.
I go riding with my friend at the weekends with my friends [name] and [name].
(The study member requested the correction of all spelling mistakes)
At age 11 Claire imagined she would be a nurse when she reached 25. Almost five decades later, she remembers her childhood dreams being quite different.
“I can’t recall writing the essay and I can’t remember wanting to be a nurse. My father wasn’t a doctor, but my mother was a teacher. Animals were always my passion, and still are, and we did have most of those pets I mentioned in the essay. At the time I wanted to be a vet, so I’m surprised I said I wanted to be a nurse.”
Claire had an idyllic childhood living in the Suffolk countryside. She remembers spending much of her time outdoors, climbing trees in her family’s garden and going on sailing trips with her father. She enjoyed going camping, and was a keen member of the brownies and girl guides.
After showing a flair for drawing and painting during school, Claire decided to study for a degree in art. However, after graduating she was still unsure about her future career path.
“After leaving college I soon realised that you couldn’t get many jobs with an art degree. I wanted to do something which would help people, so, I decided to go into social services, and became a home help manager.”
Claire married Ken in her mid-twenties and they raised three children. When she was 39, her youngest son went off to school, and Claire decided to retrain and follow a new, if familiar career path.
“I eventually did decide to follow in my sister’s footsteps. She didn’t become a nurse as I imagined, but like my mother, became a primary school teacher. I did my training, and became an art teacher. I think I was influenced by my mother and sister, as they said the job fitted in really well with family life. And also, with my degree, it worked very well. So, doing art was useful in the end.”
Claire spent around two decades as an art teacher before retiring last summer. She thoroughly enjoyed her career in education, and particularly relished the opportunity to inspire A-Level students about art history. As she reminisces about her passion for the subject, she feels fortunate to have followed her family members into the profession.
“I really really enjoyed it, it was a great career. I’d always been interested in visiting galleries and painting in my free time, so teaching children about art, and taking them to galleries here and abroad was a privilege. Being an art teacher has been a huge chunk of my life, with looking after my children, and keeping animals.”
With retirement, Claire has continued to paint, and now enjoys new hobbies, including ballroom and Latin dancing, which she does with her husband. She still lives close to her sister, and their families spend lots of time together.
Reflecting on her essay, after reading it for the first time in almost 50 years, how closely does Claire think her life has mirrored the one she imagined at age 11?
“Writing about being a nurse, I must’ve hoped that I would help people in some way. My mother was very socially conscious, and I think that must have influenced me growing up. I wanted a good job, and hoped to make a difference, so I can certainly see a connection between my life and the essay.”