forge your own

19Jan16

You know what they all say… right? We’re always told to not let anyone else make our decisions for us, we’re told to choose our own path… because in the end, we can only create our own happiness. And I sincerely believe that.

advice

I have my own edit to this, based on life experience. And I hadn’t really thought of it until a few days ago.

My grandfather was a wonderful person, rest his soul (he passed almost 7 years ago). I learned a lot from him, and he is probably the person in my family whom I am most like, in terms of personality — persistence, leadership, etc. However, he was a bit misogynistic… maybe “a bit” is stating it mildly… and as someone interested in science, he encouraged me, but I often felt like the “sweet little thing who wanted to go into science” and that I would always hit a glass ceiling, in terms of my family.

In my undergraduate life, I’d pursued a lot of biology, but also some chemistry. I found an interest in pharmaceuticals (no… not in that way… I often get comments of “oh, I studied drugs in college, too, heh”) and how they affect the body. I was interested in the chemistry and the physiology, and I am to this day, 21 years post-graduation — though I’m more interested in food as my “drug” these days.

I look back and realize that, in graduate school, there were two paths in my department: one was a bit more chemistry focused, and the other was a bit more biology focused. If I could choose things now, I would’ve gone for the latter. But I went for the organic chemistry side of things… which I think was a lot less interesting for me.

Why did I choose that? Lack of sufficient lab experience? Naivete?

Or… was I subconsciously pushed by my family background? The thought of showing them that not only can girls be scientists, but they can also be chemists?

Silly me. I was young and foolish… I hope I’m a bit wiser these days.

I teach almost entirely biology these days, and occasionally chemistry as needed. I much prefer biology, and embrace it — I am no less of a scientist as a biology instructor than I was as a chemistry instructor. In fact, since I feel much more passionate about what I teach right now, I think I am MORE of a scientist… maybe?

So, don’t let anyone’s thoughts sway your end goals. It’s hard to figure out when it’s happening (it took me over 20 years!) but stick to what you want to do. (Within reason. I doubt anyone will make a career out of sitting around watching soaps. You know what I mean.)

Stay your true genuine self… because that’s the person that others will like!

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