I am petrified of what my mother will say. I have not told them yet, but I feel like I’ve already disappointed her, my father, my entire distant family, and everybody else who believed in me… yet at the same time, I am so relieved. My heart wants to sing from the top of its lungs (if it had its own set of lungs), although it’s feeling a bit timid at the moment. I chose the pre-medical path to adhere to my logic and reason, and to make my parents proud, because who would not be happy that their child has become a doctor? I was also deeply fascinated with anatomy and I thought that, perhaps, the road to becoming a pathologist would be worth it, albeit it being a very difficult one.
In the third grade, I wanted to become an astronaut and bring back rocks from the moon. In fourth grade, I became interested in creating inventions out of mere paper and straws, and decided that I’d be a scientist. In sixth grade, I wanted to become a surgeon because I was in love with A Series of Unfortunate Events, and found the cover of The Hostile Hospital very appealing. In senior year of high school I wanted to become a nurse for children with mental disabilities because I loved Best Buddies so much. And in my second year of college, I was so intrigued with cat dissection that I decided that I’d pursue medical school and become a pathologist, dissecting human bodies for the rest of my life.
Clearly, I have been interested in science from a very young age, and I was truly counting on myself to go far with it. Not only was it fun, but it also meant a secure future– because let’s face it, it has been our generation’s school of thought that degrees in arts and humanities would go nowhere, while science could take you to so many opportunistic fields and with higher salaries, too.
But as I look back, I think of my first true passion– literature. I started reading from a young, ripe age and I enjoyed the way the words formed images in my mind. In the second grade, the very first year that I immigrated to America, I started writing poetry in my pink spiral notebook. I was infatuated with limericks and ABCB rhyming patterns. I read and read and read until I received the gold medal in Reading Counts in my whole fifth grade class. In sixth grade, I won a creative writing contest and the district published my story about a vampire and honored me with a dinner with the vice principal. I became a graduation speaker for my commencement ceremony because I won the teachers over with my dream-like speech. I journaled through multiple diaries in my pre-teen years, which eventually led to online blogging from a blogspot, to a couple tumblrs, to this wordpress that I have today.
I was always under the impression that writing poetry, reading books, and finding English enjoyable weren’t anything that you could make a career out of– they’re just hobbies, sources of freedom and fun. If I was having a bad day and preferred not to talk to anyone, my words on paper never failed to speak for me. Writing was and still is my medium of expression, as emotional as I can possibly be, and letters and symbols never judged me. But it just wasn’t what adults did– the select few that excelled wrote fantastic novels and memoirs, but being an English major just didn’t cut it in the real world.
However, after hitting a new low the other day, I had to take a step back and reevaluate my life. A good friend of mine reminded me how we must focus on the “now” because we will never know what’s going to happen in the future. Sure, I can worry about what jobs I can possibly land after I graduate and all those stressful factors, but if I’m not enjoying myself during my prime years, I don’t think I’m living life the way that I should be. Live for the moment, Matt reminded me. Do what makes you happy. My advisers told me today that besides the educational aspect, college is really all about discovering what you want to do with your life. These are the years in which you can finally see the features of your shadow instead of something one-dimensional and faceless. These are my selfish years, my time to grow as an individual, and find what makes me tick and smile. If I’m not happy, I’m not living right.
So it’s not going to be easy. Actually, it will be very difficult, maybe even heartbreaking for myself and those who care for me. But my father reassured me that he will support me no matter what I choose, and that is the silver lining in this cloud of disappointment and abandon that is looming above my head. Soon enough, my heart will be able to sing freely… I can already hear it humming.