What’s your plan for the next 20 years?
That is the question I must answer as a consequence of being a newly registered medical student (not really, never in a million years I’ll be entitled as a doctor). As someone who entered med school for the knowledge it provides and not for the curing license it gives, I have no plan at all. Therefore, this question haunts me day and night as the deadline of the task is not getting any longer.
Wherever and whenever I try to arrange the plans I’ll provide as an answer to that one particular question, I have flashbacks of a quite enlightening conversation I had with some friends. We were sitting in my class on a one fine afternoon after school. Out of nowhere, someone asked me why I consider choosing health nutrition as the major I wanted to excel in although I had a greater passion in something else (communication). Long story short, I told them that I chose it because I believe it is the most logical thing to do; it is the all-in-one package of things I want to study.
In the university I enrolled in, the health nutrition major demands us to study diverse topics (which I’m interested in): communication, management, psychology, and philosophy. I’ve seen other majors’ curriculum and none of those are as diverse as health nutrition’s. Since I’m totally aware that college is expensive and it is more likely to be a chance of a lifetime, I try my best to pick the major that gives the greatest reliever for my thirst of knowledge.
At that time, I shared my worries to those who were there. I told them that I was in a dilemma: should I follow my heart (which will more likely lead me to the thing I’m really passionate about) or should I follow my brain (which decided to think logically)? At that time, my inner self rooted for my brain as it has more pros instead of cons. However, never had I before imagined my self being a nutritionist, telling people to live healthy while I myself prefer greasy lamb chop than carrots and broccoli.
Probably pitying me for drowning in my own worries, a free-spirited friend of mine spilled his opinions out, “You cannot decide who you want to be from what undergraduate major you choose. Undergraduate studies only carve the way you think. What you’ll be is decided once you study in postgraduate school.”
You see, he and I are nothing alike. All my life, I used to have a life-long plan. I had always known what school I want to study in, I had always discovered what I wanted to do in life. But him? He is some kind of a free-spirited artist. He never really thinks his life through, but somehow he managed to keep himself afloat in this deadly current named life. He enjoys his life to its fullest while I focus on the present deeds I must do in order to secure my upcoming happiness in the future. Although I understand his principles, I always find it hard to imagine my self having those as mine.
However, that time, I kinda trust his words. Maybe I found it true, or maybe I was too desperate looking for words that can soothe me. From that day on, I change my perspective. I won’t let my major steers my future; I’ll use my major as a vehicle to reach my future.
So, right now, by the time I write this, I don’t have any detailed plan or grand ambition when it comes to my life as a health nutrition stud (I haven’t even had a single class!). When it comes to my life as a health nutrition stud, I just want to start college, learn new things about a particular thing I’m interested into, and see whether it works for me or not. If it works, sure, I’ll try my best to excel in it. If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll try other things. As Rumi said:
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
However, I still have lots of ambitions outside my life as a health nutrition stud. Since I’m aware that I’m a little bit derailed, I’m not going to rush to make things happen. I’m not going to take it hard on my self, too. From now on, I’ll try figure out how my vehicle works out before using it on a journey in an alien terrain en route to my ambition. Yet, it is still possible that someday I’ll grow an ambition in the “health nutrition land”.. who knows?
This time, I’m a little bit relaxed because I used to be in some kind of competition (competing to get the best junior high and high school in town) and now I’m not. College doesn’t work that way. In college, I believe success is no longer defined as “accepted in the school of your dream” or “stand out among others”; to me, the definition of success has transformed into “live happily and be the kind person you want to be“.
Well, maybe this is just a rambling from someone who entered a major due to logical reasons instead of any magical callings from the inside, but I’ve witnessed lots of friends who half-heartedly choose to stay in a major he or she doesn’t like because of harsh reality and I hope this helps (although, praise the Lord, I don’t stand on their shoe, so maybe this is not too accurate)(plus, I consciously choose my major as the vehicle of my choice).
So, to answer that haunting question, can I say that I can’t? I have never been a 38-year-old woman and I don’t know what I’m going to do when I’m at that age. The age 38 is still 20 years away from me; for an 18-year-old girl, that age feels indistinct. And.. within those 20 years, anything can happen. Life requires people to open doors that lead to lots of opportunity; life is full of plot twists and surprises. Sometimes we can go straight to our destination, but sometimes we need to take a detour just for the sake of life lessons. That question can only be answered by time with the help of sudden inspiration.. and I cannot be forced to answer it right away. So, instead of planning it down to every details, why don’t we just focus on walking down the road?
oh how I want to write this on my paper