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I have no clue what tomorrow will look like.

I could wake up and have to pack up my dorm again or take notes in my three classes until the pain in my hand is unbearable. There could be another potential COVID-19 therapy or another local outbreak. I could remember to take components when working with vectors and get an A on my physics quiz or forget and end up shamefully strolling into office hours.

I have no clue what twenty years from now will look like.

Maybe I’m on my third cup of coffee trying to get a piece of breaking news done before the paper next door can. Maybe I’m trying to work out the dimensions for the prosthetic arm I’m creating for a member of my community. Heck, maybe both to some extent.

The truth is, I didn’t know which one was scarier for a while. Was it worse feeling like I could wake up and start a completely new life, or like everyone knew the life they wanted to live and I didn’t?

What took me nineteen years to learn was that not knowing is the fun part.

It’s like senioritis in high school; second semester, I had no reason to care about my physics test when the acceptance letter from Duke was buried in my inbox somewhere. I didn’t have the idea of needing to get into college pushing me to study harder and work smarter. 

If my future was already certain, why would I need to drag myself into The Chronicle office at 9 p.m. on Sundays? And what would I daydream about while I’m supposed to be making sure there’s not an Oxford comma in sight on this new story?  

I’d have no reason to ask my physiology professor why nerve damage works the way it does. I wouldn’t care about investing in my passions––because why be curious about my future when it’s just an unavoidable fate? I can’t let senioritis turn into some sort of existential “life-itis” where I just slum through the motions every day until it’s time for the future I’ve known I’d always have.

I’m so thankful that I wasn’t born knowing my purpose. I have no clue what tomorrow will look like, but at least I have something to daydream about.

Leah is a sophomore at Duke University studying Biomedical Engineering. Her interests are primarily genomics and genetic technologies, and she hopes to work in science journalism as well in the future. Leah enjoys exploring how gender influences power dynamics within STEM fields.
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