Ever since my freshman year of high school at the lovely establishment that is Ransom Everglades (#REpresent), I wanted to be a doctor. It all began one summer, where I was working as a camp counselor for a group of rambunctious, yet adorable 1st grade boys. One day I met this little boy, who was the older cousin of one of my campers. Unfortunately, this little nug had Leukemia in his younger years, and it had just recently relapsed at the age of 8.
Seeing this little ray of sunshine having to go through something so life-altering completely rocked my world. The mom in me wanted to take his pain away. Being that I don’t have some sort of supernatural powers, that will instantly rid of someone’s pain, my wish to take his pain away transformed itself into an interest in the medical field.
I worked my ass off in high school and got myself into the University of Miami with a full ride, entering freshman year as a neuroscience major. Sure, it sounds cool, but to be honest, I picked the major willy nilly, unaware of how competitive the major truly is. Freshman year is the year of adjustment. You’re no longer under parental control. You’re free to make your own deadlines, study times, etc. And with this freedom, comes great responsibility (shout out to anyone who thought of Spiderman just now).
I was responsible for balancing my time properly, for getting all my work done, for studying, and for not procrastinating (which was/is my biggest downfall). And just like anyone coming into college, you could say my head wasn’t necessarily in the right place at all times, but despite the social distractions I managed to crank out good grades.
As the days, weeks, months, and years went by, continuing to be a neuroscience major on the pre-med track, resulted in feelings of emptiness. Sure, I worked hard and got the grades I needed to get, but was I happy? I was just going through the motions, doing what I was supposed to do. I shadowed physicians, I worked at a research lab, I studied for hours on end (seriously lived in the library), I held multiple club leadership positions, and I went on a medical brigade to Panama, yet I never felt fulfilled. Instead, I felt like a hamster trapped running in a wheel with no break or end point in sight.
I was never able to relax. Even when I was doing all I could do, it just wasn’t enough (or so I felt). I spent more hours in the library than I did in my own home. I would see my friends being able to go out, tan, and relax, while I’d be slaving away over one (or multiple) of my science intensive classes. I often found myself envious of my friends, being that they didn’t have to go through my academic load. I felt stuck in my academics, both emotionally and mentally.
My classes led to ridiculous levels of stress and anxiety, often keeping me up at night. I was overworking my body and mind, never giving them a chance to reboot. I kid you not, I often dreamt of organic molecules while taking orgo, leading me to realize I had to change to my path, and quick.
My stubborn self stuck with the pre-med life throughout college up until the end of my fall semester junior year. That last semester as a pre-med was one of the most hellacious semesters I’ve ever encountered, but, thankfully, I had Spoon has my outlet. I never thought I’d enjoy writing, nor did I ever think something I was picking up as a hobby would transition into something that’s had such an incredible impact on my life.
I’ve gone from being a writer, to being SpoonUMiami’s Managing Editor, to now being HQ’s Marketing and Community Growth summer intern in NYC. My work with Spoon has been effortlessly fun and easy going, ensuring me that leaving my stress-filled life was one of the best decisions I could’ve made. There is indeed hope for me outside of the pre-med world.
Do what you want and what makes you happy, in all aspects of life, not just academically. If you do things for you, you’ll find yourself infinitely happier, I promise. For the first time in my life I don’t have a plan, nor do I have a clear career path in mind, but it’s okay because I’m rollin’ with it and I couldn’t be more excited to see what’s to come.