Balance, Career, Classes, General, Study, Work

Finding Your Forte

You’re four. Your grandmother asks you what you want to be when you grow up. What a silly question, grandma! Has she not been noticing your doctor’s kit for the last eight months?? Maybe it’s the science-fiction-romance poetry you write for her refrigerator that has her confused, but she obviously has NOT been paying attention to your future career aspirations.

*Sigh* I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I feel like four-year-old me had it together more than I do now when it comes to what I want to do with the rest of my life. I mean, sure  four-year-old me also ditched the doctor’s kit for a dream of sailing around the world as a marine biologist in a year’s time (Thank you, National Geographic) but I’m definitely no more sure of my dream career 14 years later.

I was in grade 11 when I started to seriously think about what universities I should apply to. At that point, I had been following my dream of being a psychologist for the last of couple years. This is the dream that would later force me to take high school calculus and advanced functions; quite a feat for someone who has a strict no-math policy. I struggled through the advanced math so I could apply to U of T’s Life Science stream, and after many anxious months of checking my email every 5 minutes, I was accepted in March. (In the middle of calculus class, no less.)

Madeline does not simply volunteer to take calculus (meme)

Boromir gets it.

Fast forward to the middle of first year. BI0120 had destroyed all hopes of ever truly adapting to the life sci struggle, and I was supplementing my studies with academic indulgences like small philosophy seminars where I could talk, put forth ideas and feel smart for once. (People, never underestimate a class that makes you feel smart, and if you ever find yourself rushing home from school to do your readings… Chances are you’ve found your forte.) That’s when I started to realize that maybe being a psychologist wasn’t in the stars for me, and in thinking that I wasn’t letting myself down or quitting, but instead, redesigning my dream to fit my strengths. 

A picture of Madeline, and her two life science friends in new lab coats!

This photo features a Madeline full of excitement over frosh and the promise of lab coat glory… a Madeline pre-BIO120. It also features Logan and Cindy, two of my life science friends who are still in it to win it.

I still love studying psychology, and in fact I was offered a major in psychology last week (which I eagerly accepted), now making me equal parts “Arts” & “Science” when paired with my Ethics, Society, and Law (ES&L) minor. As for my career goal, it’s a work in progress. Reading about genetics and child development has the ability to inspire me into a “med school” phase, while studying a particularly interesting case study can have me ready to jump on the “law school band-wagon.” It’s difficult to know what job would suit me best when there are so many options, most of which, I probably haven’t even heard of yet.

So for now, my career aspirations and I are taking it day by day. Sure, a noteworthy study session with my developmental psychology textbook has the power to give me a twinge of “med-school-fever” but I know I have time to change my mind (take the necessary biology courses) and get there if I choose. I’m sure I can find my old doctor’s kit somewhere…

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