Guest Post: The Re-do: Lessons Learned and Second Chances

13 Jun

“College is the time to discover who you are.” Think back to freshmen orientation.  How many times did you, a shell-shocked yet exhilarated newbie, hear that phrase?  And yet none of us could appreciate the full truth of this sentiment until we were well on that journey to self-discovery.  This is the story of June’s journey. Sometimes the trip takes us to an expected destination, but once we get there, we can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Hello fellow liberal artists, I’m a graduate of Middlebury College with a pretentious degree in Sociology/Anthropology. It’s all scribed in Latin on my diploma (no really, it’s in Latin and I don’t understand what it’s saying). I don’t have anything clever to say to lead you into my “story/pseudo-advice-but-not-really,” so I’m not. What the hell. Something clever. You’re welcome. No, this isn’t a post about grad school. In fact, it’s a post about me going back to undergraduate school to fulfill requirements for pharmacy/medical school. In essence, I’m finding myself again and delaying my eventual entrance in the professional/”real world.”

So, let’s start from the beginning…or the middle.

During my senior year, I was in love. Like most of us naive twenty-somethings, I believed that I had it all figured out. I was going to move to some big city with my boyfriend and start a new life as a teacher (or something) and eventually go to grad school. Then, we would get married. But, he changed his mind and I was left crushed. All my hopes and dreams for the future suddenly vanished (cue Lifetime movie music). But with the help of friends, family and a counselor, I was able to pass the semester (of course this had to be the one when I took five classes) and move forward with my life.

That summer I had a lot of time to think. I realized that my previous relationship had blinded me from thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I almost sacrificed my own happiness for the sake of staying together with my ex (which is what all strong, independent, self-respecting women should try to avoid. I know, shit happens.). I didn’t want to be a teacher. I didn’t want to move to Georgia. Hell, I didn’t want to go to grad school. It was time to think about me and be honest with myself. So here’s what I discovered…

Not what she'd be translating (but she wouldn't do it anyway)

Truth #1: I don’t want to be an Arabic translator, or any other kind of translator. It’s ironic that I came to Middlebury for this very reason. So I took the classes (I even dabbled in German and Spanish) and I studied in Egypt. When I got there, I took a translating class and HATED it. The more advanced I became the more miserable I was. Don’t get me wrong. Arabic really is a beautiful and poetic language, but I would rather pierce both of my eyes out with a blunt object than translate everyday for the rest of my life. The tedious care, the pressure, and love for the language that comes with the profession didn’t captivate or excite me. Adios FBI/CIA/State Department/etc…

Truth #2: I’m mediocre when it comes to Sociology/Anthropology studies and I really don’t want to stay in this field. There’s nothing wrong with being mediocre in anything, but when it comes to passion and drive in this particular field, I find myself rather uninspired, bored (most of the time), and trapped in intellectual mazes. There was one point where I briefly considered going to grad school for forensic anthropology, but I found that that particular career wasn’t right for me because I didn’t want to become a professor, I hate bugs, and I would have been paid peanuts for the kind of work that I wanted to do.. And when you have my kind of student loans to worry about (without any trust funds or rich parents) money doesn’t just talk, it screams.

Truth #3: I absolutely love volunteering in the hospital. When you grow up with family like mine (that is, four doctors, 1 nurse and 2 engineers), it’s assumed that you’ll end up in the same kind of field. Embracing the inner rebel, I had always vowed that I would do something different, something special…well, because I was special. Right? So of course I avoided taking that route and found myself attending a liberal arts college (something they hated J). I was going to become an Arabic translator with moderate fluency in Spanish and end up working for the FBI. So much has changed since then. And now, I’m pursuing the very field that I tried to avoid throughout my entire childhood: the medical field.

Science is fun.

Truth #4: I love science, particularly biology and chemistry. Right now, I have just finished my first biology class and I LOVED it. I love studying biology so much. I would walk out of taking a test smiling. I mean, really smiling about what I learned. Like, who does that?! Right now I’m taking chemistry and I actually like doing the homework. I get excited when I think about what my next lab is going to be. And like a true science geek, I’m really looking forward to taking organic chemistry and microbiology. So, where in the hell was this girl in college? She was scared. Scared that for the first time in her life that she might fail. Because of one really bad first semester, she was scared that she had already failed. But, she grew up. Now, she’s happy and the girl that knows better.

Truth #5: No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. Middlebury taught me a huge and expensive lesson about who I am, what I really want to do with my life and to ultimately be honest with myself. It gave me the opportunity to figure all of this out. And to answer all of my “what-ifs.” I met amazing people, followed my dreams and ended up finding new ones. And for that, I’m very grateful. Go Panthers!

Truth #6: I want to work in healthcare and do nothing else (well, I also want to live in New York, go ski-diving…). I look to the future and I’m excited about what is to come. I’m not doing this to make my family happy or to become a millionaire. I want to help people, work with people, and be in a field that’s going to constantly teach me new things and challenge me. I’m still learning and I enjoy being the student. I know that the prospect of staying in school for about another 5-6 years sounds daunting to many, but I take this as a challenge and a reward. It’s a second chance to find my happy ending.

Find your dreams, and then find some more. I say, chase those rainbows like a mad leprechaun and have no regrets. You never know what you may find.

Fo rizzle,

J swizzle


One Response to “Guest Post: The Re-do: Lessons Learned and Second Chances”


  1. Potpourri « - June 17, 2010

    […] sometimes employment, and passion. If you missed directional potpourri: June tells her story of going backward to go forward. Chelsea tells her story of surging forward and then thinking twice about it. And Leslie tells her […]

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