It’s a Monday afternoon, I’m at a Starbucks Coffee shop with one of my oldest friends, Farrah. I’m cross-legged on the pseudo-rustic wooden chair talking about literature, linguistics and words and find myself nearly tearing up. My eyes are wide and I feel my hands move ecstatically in a way they can only do when I talk about something I’m this passionate about.
Farrah’s a very unique friend to have as we share nearly all the same passions. We both love writing, linguistics, politics, law, medicine and we even suffered through the same AP computer science classes. I always find that I have too many interests and she’s someone who happens to share them all. Whenever we talk, it goes from an ordinary subject matter and gets deeper by the hour. From religion, to education and people, we have discussions that tend to switch our perspectives. Most of the times, we find we’re having similar dilemmas in life and talking it out tends to smooth them out.
I’ve been doing a lot of talking recently. Just last night, I sat in one of my best friend’s apartment for a few hours, rambling about how I just don’t know what I’m doing anymore.
And this isn’t a new feeling, it’s one I’ve been trying to deal with since the second this semester ended. That’s probably one of the hardest things for me to admit because I’m nothing if not someone who loves to pretend everything is okay even when I’m falling apart inside.
Hemingway said to “write clear and hard about what hurts” and I like to take that as the mantra for this blog. When memories from my stays at the hospital were giving me panic attacks and talking about it made me tear up, I wrote about it and genuinely connected to more people than I ever have so quickly. Writing about my identity struggles and insecurities had similar effects so here I am once again, talking about something I cannot believe I’m gonna put on the internet.
I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.
I came into college as an English and Political Science major, determined to be a lawyer who would eventually go into politics. That quickly changed as I realized I could never see myself as a lawyer even though no one could see me as anything but. I switched to being a pre-med and channeled all the time I spent in hospitals as motivation with that goal of politics still in mind. Sitting in my Public Health classes, I found passion again.
I love Public Health with all my heart. It’s the intersection between politics and science and every moment spent in these classes feels right. I learn how to help people and look at health big picture and policy development. But I’m not just a Public Health major I’m also pre-med and since switching, there were very few moments where I let myself question that decision.
Because I can see myself as a doctor, I really can. But at what cost would I achieve this dream? Beyond anything, really my pre-med friends have one-track minds, most of them can’t see themselves as anything but a doctor, the problem is that I can.
I always imagine myself stopping medicine at some point and going into non-profit work or politics but if that’s my end goal then what the hell am I doing?
As I’ve been taking more time off from people this summer, I have more and more discomfort in knowing the path I’ve selected for myself. But beyond anything I have a fear that everyone was right and after spending so much time convincing other people that I was meant to be a doctor, what if I couldn’t convince myself?
I was talking to this pediatrician a while back who also runs a global non-profit and therefore is someone I very much look up to (pediatrics is my dream specialty) and he told me to just focus on doing what I love. If I wanted to go into pediatrics because I love kids, focus on volunteering at places where I can be around kids. If I love non-profit work, get involved with non-profits. If these are dreams I have, what am I doing in classes I hate?
I love writing so so much and I don’t think I’ll stop that but talking to Farrah in that Starbucks today, I realized I could never live with myself if I didn’t study some sort of language professionally. I always told people that I wanted to get a masters in literature or linguistics before med school and the looks I got told me I was crazy. What use would that have? But it’s just something I want to do so why should I limit myself when I only have one life?
I’m always someone who excelled in English and Social Studies, who loved those subjects beyond anything so what am I really getting at by slaving in classes I hate?
That being said, it’s of course just a sacrifice of a few years for the end result as no one truly enjoys chemistry (besides Farrah who is a chemistry major, we can’t be complete twins!), and my pre-med friends who see nothing but medicine also find themselves dying over these classes so it’s not just me, yet why do I feel so much more miserable?
Beyond anything, I know I can enjoy the parts of medicine I love by doing other jobs in health care. I’m still pre-med of course and I absolutely love the osteopathic theory of medicine but I’ve decided to take a semester off of my chemistry sequence until I know for a fact that this is what I want to do.
And that’s so scary.
It’s scary being unsure because there’s so much life ahead of me and I find it absurd to a certain degree that I’m supposed to know what I’m doing so young. And beyond anything not knowing what I’m doing scares me. I love stability (as most people do) and I absolutely despise knowing that I don’t know what my life will be like 20 years.
Now that being said, a year ago when I was an English major, I was just as unsure but it was a different uncertainty as I also wasn’t sure I liked what I was studying.
Now I love what I’m studying I just am not sure what to do with it and maybe that’s not the worst thing. But anyway, there’s no real conclusion to this, I don’t know what I’m doing. At all. But I know what I love. I love people, politics, words and children. Maybe I’m destined to have a unique career path not built like others.
It really just hit me that I have one life and so many passions and I don’t think I could ever be satisfied until I explored each one. I’m someone who could probably robotically learn any subject matter but I just don’t know if the cost is worth it. I’m gonna work on really exploring what I love and focusing on it. Maybe I’ll figure things out, maybe I’ll be a doctor, maybe I won’t.
I really don’t fucking know.