About 15 minutes ago I was trying to Google search what was going through my head, this thought that was causing pressure on my chest and my eyes to water. And then I typed in, “I wanted to be a doctor but..” and what I wanted to read was not there. Not anywhere. So I am creating the content that I want to read, this is why my Google search is the title for this post.
Why is it about wanting to be a doctor, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. For 19 years of my life, my dream was to be a doctor. My pediatrician inspired me by his bedside manner, treating ME, the young child, as the patient and not just talking to my parent as if I was not there. Children are people too, you know. So around the age of 6, I was dead-set on being a pediatrician, just like my own doctor. I didn’t give in to the whims of those like my peers who wanted to be a ballerina or an astronaut, not even an astronaut ballerina (although that sounds pretty cool). I put the blinds on and focused on health and science in my schooling.Fast-forward to my sophomore year in college, sitting in an organic chemistry II lecture and trying to follow the teachings of my professor. As soon as I can write down a chemical reaction, he erases it from the board to begin a new one. There are doodles of eyes and butterflies in the corners of my notebook pages and I’m feeling lost. It feels like the soul has pulled away from my body and is just watching as I’m sitting there in a room with 100 other people aggressively jotting notes down and highlighting their textbooks. I felt so separated from everyone else in that room. Then I had a moment that I had dreaded; the soul came back and I said ‘a-ha’. I had an epiphany.
I didn’t care about it. It’s logical that science and medical knowledge is imperative in the education process of becoming a doctor, I am not contesting that. What I am saying is that part of being a doctor is not what gave me the passion for it. Sure, I was intrigued by diseases and watched surgical videos, I even bought that fancy copy of Grey’s Anatomy (and was a fan of the show as well). I was totally immersed in the lifestyle of an aspiring MD.
What turned me off was the feeling of being in a National Geographic documentary where the strongest thrived and the “weak” weeded themselves out. It was survival of the fittest and packs started to form. The students who were “guaranteed” a spot stuck together and sneered at anyone else they saw as competition. The atmosphere was too cold for me. I don’t consider myself a delicate flower but it all seemed very robotic to me. There was elitism when we were all in the same boat; studying pre-med.
So I left. I changed my major to psychology and felt better about my purpose in life. I’m focusing on mental health and it’s combined models of medical and wellness. As some of my readers may know, I am currently in a Master’s program in counseling, and I feel at ease with my decision.
What’s the point of this post?
There are times when I remember how badly I wanted to be a doctor. I remember my daydreams of walking around a hospital in my scrubs, being warm and kind to my patients, making sure I was giving them the best care possible. During these times, sometimes I cry. Not because I regret my decision, but I cry for my 6 year-old self. I didn’t give her the chance to daydream about wanting to be an astronaut-ballerina when maybe I should have. I cry because I devoted so many years of my life to a dream that I didn’t live up to.
That’s on me.
And that’s okay.
I have a belief that we all have paths to follow, and it isn’t written anywhere that our paths are a straight line. There’s bumps and crossroads and detours but we still get to where we need to be at the end of it.
Moral of the story: It’s okay if you had childhood dreams that didn’t pan out as well as you liked. We change as we grow older so why can’t dreams change too? Changing your mind about something isn’t so much of an ending but a beginning. A new way of seeing the world, meeting new people, new opportunities. Whatever it is, if it’s worth taking a chance on it, it doesn’t make you fickle or weak. It makes you strong for giving yourself the chance to try it out.