I have always been interested in science. At one time, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I didn’t. That is to say, I didn’t become a doctor. I’m not sure if that’s because I didn’t want to be one or that I got distracted along the way.
It all started out well. I got excellent grades. I went to a prestigious all-girls high school. That was not my choice, and, looking back, it might have been the beginning of the end of my medical ambitions. I wanted to go to a public high school that offered a premed program. The school I went to offered no such program, but my mother forbade me from attending public school.
I was good at mathematics and science, but I was not good at basic arithmetic. I make this distinction because it caused me to miss out on taking precalculus in my senior year. I was put in computer science instead. This didn’t bother me at the time. I knew about computers than my teacher and spent the class hanging out in the computer lab with my best friend. It was the early 80s and our teacher was taking a C++ class at night. We had already taught that to ourselves, so the BASIC she was teaching was, for us, the most boring computer class we could have had.
The real end to medical ambitions came in my freshman year of college. I took Biology 101 and 102 and realized that the people around me, all premed students, weren’t interested in biology. They were just interested in passing the class in order to get to the next class in order to get into med school. I had no desire to have these people be my peers. If these were the doctors of the future, I had no interest in being part of that field.
From there, my career path meandered and twisted so many times that I have no clear way to say how I ended up where I am. Do I regret not becoming a doctor? I suppose, at times, I do. The thing I don’t regret is where I am right now. I still read medical journals. I still follow biological advances. I still love learning chemistry, and I indulge my passion for physics. In fact, I still enjoy mathematics, though I am still not very good at arithmetic. Luckily, I have a calculator in my phone and I can save my brain for deep dives into the universe without having to listen to anyone whine, “Will this be on the exam?”
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