I don’t know what to do with my life, guys.
Winter quarter starts in three days, and I’m questioning premed immensely.
Here’s the truth: I don’t think my heart is in medicine. There’s a reason why I am questioning premed so much. Perhaps I’ve always turned to the medical field as a path that felt SAFE, as opposed to something I was truly interested in. Being a doctor is obviously socially acceptable. Nobody is gonna tell you that medicine is a bad field to get into (except, perhaps, those already in the medical field). And it’s not like I don’t have the smarts to do well in my premed courses and get good grades. But if my heart is not in it, I will not be happy. I will suffer through med school and residency and live my life resenting the fact that I am not following my heart.
So what does my heart speak? What is my calling? At this moment, I just can’t say. I’ve already registered for winter quarter classes, and all of them are premed related. I was just given the opportunity to conduct research under an esteemed UCLA head and neck surgeon. I feel… locked in. Like my whole track ahead is leading to med school…
I came into UCLA as an overly enthused premed student, certain that I’d be going to med school. I had the next 12 years of my life laid out ahead of me. But somewhere along the way, I realized that maybe this wasn’t the path I wanted. And questioning medicine was terrifying, because I never stopped to think of what I’d do if not medicine.
Dance? Now, more than ever, I’m thinking that dance is where it’s at for me. Every debate I have in my life boils down to the same question– will I be able to dance to the degree I want to? And when the answer is no, I always feel unsettled. My heart has been saying, DANCE. My mind, influenced by the opinions of those around me, tells me that dance is not a viable career path. That dancing will not put food on the table. That there is no guarantee of success as a dancer, or any type of artist, for that matter. There are obviously many obstacles along the path of dance… But if we leave our lives to the hands of reason and logic alone… where’s the fire, the passion, the drive leading us to jump out of bed each morning? I feel my most invigorated and happy when I dance. It’s as simple as that. I know this, because two days ago, when I put on my dance shoes for the first time in two months, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I don’t know if there’s a word in the English language to describe what I feel when I dance to beautiful music. It’s a feeling in my heart… an enveloping warmth that rises to my throat, making me want to cry from sheer joy and satisfaction. Maybe it’s called passion.
So. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I guess you could say, I’m officially an undeclared major. I hate feeling so uncertain about my future. So lost without direction. It’s uncomfortable, unsettling. I just want to know everything will be okay in the end. That I’ll end up happy and personally successful and fulfilled.
It’s ultimately my responsibility to find what my calling is. No one can tell me what I should do with my life but myself. Medicine? Dance? Writing? Theater? College is the time for me to explore what I love. I think those who say they know what they want to do with their lives at 18 years old are only kidding themselves. Life is so unexpected… One moment you’re premed, the next, you realize your heart isn’t in medicine, and you want to switch to performing arts. I think it is totally okay– healthy, even– for 18 year olds to be questioning what they want to do with their lives.
I don’t know much, but I do know this. I will keep dancing. I won’t let college stop me from dancing and training. And I’m grateful that I’m questioning medicine NOW, one quarter into my freshman year of college, instead of towards the end of my college career, or even during medical school.
There is good in all of this. In all this anguish and debating and questioning. It means I have options. That I’ve been blessed with the opportunity and talent to succeed in whatever field I choose. If my heart is in medicine, I have all the potential to become a good doctor. If my heart is for dance, I have the talent and ability to succeed as a dancer. Now comes the hardest question: what do I want?