I bet most people had that phase when they were little and wanting to have all kinds of jobs when they grow up. My twin sister wanted to be a farmer, a teacher, an acrobat, and so many other careers.
For me, though, I think I only considered three jobs as a little kid: a novelist, a research scientist, then finally, a neurosurgeon.
I’ve since been reconsidering my goal to be a neurosurgeon after starting college, but I’ll save that for another post. Instead, as an exercise of self-reflection, I want to use this post to reflect on what pushed me to pursue those different dreams as a child.
Some people still think that writing long stories is a novel idea.
It’s clear I wanted to be a novelist because I loved reading novels. I don’t remember the very first novel I read, but the first classic novel I read was Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
But reading novels doesn’t easily translate to writing novels. After all, inputting ideas is easier than outputting them. Not that I never had ideas of my own, but motivating myself to develop a story through long writing sessions for several months has been difficult. (Turns out, I have a real problem motivating myself for any long haul because of my depression, but that’s a different story.)
What fascinates me most about novels, and other fictional media are characters, their psychology, the impact of their pasts, the influence of the setting, etc. I hope I’ve been able to redirect this passion and learn more about others around me.
Maybe I’ll write novels as a pastime (I cannot write short stories because my imagination for my stories is too big), but for now, it won’t be my major job.
Top researchers are expected to perform, so they’re often under the microscope.
Specifically, I was into researching human anatomy and physiology. I find skeletons fascinating and blood doesn’t disturb me, but a small book I read in 7th grade solidified my interest in science. I read about Phineas Gage and how he survived a metal rod going through his skull, and ever since I’ve been intrigued by the mysteries of the nervous system.
I don’t know how I decided research wasn’t my calling, because I quickly moved to the next thing…
In medical school, he worried about passing as a surgeon, but he made the cut.
Also during 7th grade, I was part of a science competition club, and one of the activities led me to study muscular dystrophy. Learning about the poor prognosis for certain types of muscular dystrophy motivated me to help patients with such disorders. I had recently experienced my mother’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment (she survived, and has been cancer free for over ten years), so I guess there was some of that motivating me as well.
Ever since I’ve been working to become a doctor, possibly neurosurgery to combine my passion for neuroscience and medicine, though I’ve since become open to other specialties. I’m about to start applying for a committee letter, and I’m still trying to figure out what has motivated me to stick with premed for the last three years despite the obstacles…