Yesterday, I met up with a roommate from college, and we spent a couple of hours catching up over yummy food and scrumptious beer. While it was nice to finally, physically hang out with a person I actually know (even though our meeting was painful realization of my awkwardness--another story for later), I went home feeling slightly down. Somewhere between reminiscing and updating, we started talking about career choices and college, and she mentioned that from the very beginning, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her degree. Many years of schooling later, she's working her dream job and is extremely happy and passionate about her career.
Don't think I'm jealous, because I am truly, sincerely happy for her and the handful of people who have, early on, figured it out. I'm just wallowing in my indecisiveness. A little bit of history: When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to become a medical doctor. The decision was pretty much influenced by my family, largely composed of doctors and lawyers. At that tender age, I had no concept of how anything really worked, and because I had never seen lawyers in action, I chose the nobler (to me) occupation of saving lives.
This ambition held up until we moved to the United States, and I discovered (for myself) Chemistry. I was instantly obsessed. I wanted to be a scientist, making stuff out of anything and everything. I took all the Chemistry classes my high school offered. I worked as a TA, prepping lab materials and solutions. My parents didn't quite approve of my love declaration for the science, but they convinced themselves that a B.S. in Chemistry would be great degree for Med School.
Up until my fourth year of undergrad, I was on the Chemistry track. I had resolved to use my degree to work in a crime lab (thanks, CSI) or in any lab for production. Everything was going well: I took a full load each semester, I got great grades, I was getting good lab results. Then, I happened to take a class on John Milton (just cuz), and just like that : three years of Chemistry were flushed down the drain.
I spent the rest of my senior year overloading on English credits not just because I wanted to graduate in record time, but also because I couldn't satisfy my cravings for reading, discussing, researching, and reading some more. It was the first time that I recall not really working towards something. I had no idea what careers English majors undertook after school; I just wanted to keep on doing what I was doing.
As cheesy as it sounds, I was beginning to see things differently. You have to realize that from my immensely green and sheltered perspective, this was huge. It was at this point that I started questioning everything I was so sure of up until then. It felt awesome. This is partly the reason why I went back to school to get a graduate degree. I wanted to share with students how awesome it felt to be so unsure, to start asking questions, and to find answers for themselves. It turns out, not a whole lot of students care anymore, which, ultimately, turned me off teaching.
So now, here I am. 10,220 jellybeans into my life, and I have no idea what's next. I feel as though I'm walking in a labyrinth (sans Bowie and the singing), and taking path A feels just as good as taking path B. Am I passionless? Lackluster? I don't want to think so. I feel strongly about lots of things and try to take control of the aspects of my life that I can control. I just want to do everything. Hell, I couldn't decide on what to focus my blog on three years ago, and I still don't know. Can't I just do it all?