I plan. Well. By age 17, I had my life, and all the itty-bitty, nitty-gritty details laid out before me on several pieces of left over Bat Mitzvah stationary. I knew I would go to college, follow up with law school, practice for a few years, and one day start a non-profit organization; oh and don’t forget about the all-around perfect family I would raise with all that time I had. Sounds foolproof, right? Fast-forward two years to my first semester in college. The random array of classes I happened to be enrolled in seemed to yank at the seams of my neatly woven plans little by little, until no plan existed at all.
“Why not give pre-med a try?” I ambitiously thought aloud to my friends almost every day. They encouraged me, half knowing that I would change my mind at a moment’s notice. That was it. My plans had dissolved, but only temporarily. I had gotten back on my feet and solidified for myself a rigorous college career that would translate into and even more demanding career post-graduation. Taking on both chemistry and physics (and the labs that accompany such challenging classes) in my second semester at Brandeis, I was nearing wit’s end. But I needed to prove to everyone, and myself, that I was serious, and wasn’t going to be one of those students who skated through college, accidentally picking up an English major and running away to Argentina to join the Peace Corps.
The funny thing is, in high school, the sciences and I were like oil and water. Our relationship was virtually non-existent. I stayed far, far, away. Instead, I opted for the honors humanities courses and the AP history classes. Why I had filled out the forms to declare a neuroscience major, I’ll never know. After a long and thoughtful winter break, and too many “you don’t seem happy” lectures from my parents, I came to the conclusion that sometimes it’s just not worth it. Yes, accolades are highly applauded, and the amount of letters after your name is in fact what people see first. I tried to distance myself from such a mindset. I let go of everything I had been holding on to for so long.
Ironically enough, I’m an English major now. Probably skating through college, and most definitely trying to find a way to India. I was always terrified of letting go of my plans, but maybe being forced to, was the best thing I could have asked for.