I never doubted that I’d be a doctor. I never doubted that I loved biology. Sophomore year I went at that frog dissection with vigor. Not in a sadistic, oh-hey-look-at-her-she’s-crazy kind of way, but with legitimate passion for science and anatomy. So I came to college with no doubts that I’d be biology major. That I was going to be pre-med. That I would go to medical school, do a residency, and be a practitioner. That I’d don those blue scrubs with pride, a genuine smile on my face as I handed a couple their new child. I saw ruptured aortas in my future instead of sharpened pencils and clerical work. I saw a swift and brilliant medical career with flasks of solutions and prescription pads and heroic emergency saves.
I doubt it now.
I can’t help but wonder if the reason that I’ve always wanted to pursue medicine is because I truly want it, or because it’s been pressed upon for so long. I have to ask myself: was I the one who initially imagined myself as a doctor? Or was it my dad (the doctor), my grandpa (the dentist), or my grandma (the doctor-enthusiast of the year)? “In graduate school” was never thrown casually around into conversations at my house. It was a stern dinner table with discussion points like “when you apply to medical school,” and “in residency you’ll…”
Do I want this?
Isn’t that everyone’s question? What can they do that they’ll love? What can they do as a career that will not make them want to melt into their office cubicle five days a week, nine hours a day. I want adventure; I want to run next to a gurney and plunge syringes into hearts and watch needles thread through veins on the way to a valve obstruction. But I’m not your average nineteen year old.
I’ve had a life plan since I was a child. I know that I want a fall wedding, that I want my husband to drive a Range Rover, that my kids will wear tiny pastel colored outfits to Sunday church.
Part of the reason I doubt everything now is because I know that what I choose today affects the future. It affects how I will budget my years as an adult. If I go to medical school, I’ll be at least twenty-six when I’m finished, and thirty when I’m done with residency. Will I be married? Will I have the kids I’ve always wanted?
So I guess I doubt my choices. With class behind me, I now have to actually be a person and figure out my major. Looking back ten months ago, I was so concretely set on what I wanted in life: Kenyon, medical school, marriage, a family.
Can I have it all?
It’ll be difficult, of course. A part of me wants to do it just to prove that I can. To call myself a doctor like my father is, like my grandpa was, like my great-grandpa and great-uncle were. Is it fair that I want to be something simply because it’s what I think I should be? Or is that just hindering what I can become?
For now, I’m still searching, past all the expectations and the doubt and the personal struggles. I am still searching for what makes me the best version of myself possible. I hope you do the same.
Photo Credits: CNN