When I started applying for university, my entire family wanted a say, they all wanted me to be a doctor. A doctor in the family would be a big thing, and surely something to boast about. Their desires didn’t end there, however, and I quickly found myself at a crossroads because there were certain beliefs they had about some University of Puerto Rico (UPR) campuses that bled into my decisions.
My family especially wanted me as far away from the Rio Piedras campus as possible. They thought it was a bad place for me, a place where all the “weirdos” went (yes, they used that word), and thought people went there to party and smoke. I didn’t think much about it, I was barely sure of what I was doing with my life and had decided on staying at the Bayamón campus, since it was close to home, many friends would be there with me, and rumor had it that they had great biology professors as well. In the end, it didn’t matter, and I’ll tell you why in a minute..
I was part of that big group of people that started their university experience online. I was a first year biology student with seventeen credits and absolutely no fun or comfort in life. I remember closing my eyes and seeing chemistry formulas. I could barely stand to see myself where I was and it was so stressful that I thought I wouldn’t have any hair left by the end of the year. It took a long process of looking back to find out where I’d gone wrong and what I could do to redeem it. I gave myself a semester before I figured out that I, frankly, hated biology, and it took a job at a doctor’s office to figure out I hated the idea of me being a doctor even more.
(Retrieved from Pinterest)
That’s where everything changed for me. I had spent my life loving social topics, involving myself in arduous political discussions, even when I could barely understand the terms. I took a semester of only basics and social sciences and it was quite easy to see where I’d end up. I wanted to study politics. I could discuss congress and international theory twelve times in the time it took me to do one basic chemistry exercise. It was an eye-opening experience that planted hope in me.
I had only one issue: if I was to study politics, I had to go to the Río Piedras campus at UPR. I would get the most out of my education there. I made my decision quietly, and despite worries from my family and heated arguments about me having to become a lawyer if I wasn’t going to be a doctor, I changed majors and campuses.
The University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras (UPR-RP) was its own world. I had barely stepped foot into the Bayamón campus with most of my classes being online, but still, I quickly realized it did not compare. I understood, to a certain extent, the worries my family had. I was but a flapping bird in their nest, and UPR-RP was an entire forest, too big to make sense of. I would never deny the great experiences I had at Bayamón, the professors that helped me make my transition and the classes I did enjoy, but UPR-RP was everything I wanted and more. My family was right about one thing, the UPR-RP campus was nothing like how I’d imagined. It was more.
It was an array of colors and people, so many different people, too many social experiences waiting for me. I was so freaked out I barely spoke a word most of the time, but it was enough. It was enough to be in a space where I knew people would help me pursue what I wanted: political studies. Even before starting university, studying politics had crossed my mind, but I’d been so afraid, afraid of job opportunities, of the real thing not being what I imagined.
Fear had never been so wrong.
(Retrieved from Facebook)
Every class, every professor, and every moment I got to meet people studying what I loved and what they too loved, was almost surreal. Switching campuses was one of the most fear inducing experiences I’ve done, but I would do it a thousand times over. If you have any doubts or fears about what to do with your life and what decisions to make, I’d say to take the chance and do it. I can’t say for certain that it will work out, and it would be unfair of me to believe my experiences can sum up to everyone else’s, but conquering fears can be daring, and sometimes, that bravery pays off. Meeting the world of UPR-RP, full of knowledge and new opportunities, that is why this was one of the greatest things that could’ve happened to me and my future.
I can’t please my family, can’t give them the doctor they wanted and have doubts about becoming the lawyer they expect. Every aspect of their hopes for me have been crushed, but I don’t mind at all. Because every aspect of my hopes for me have been met.
Isn’t that all that counts?