Sitting in my over-sized beanbag chair in the middle of my dorm room, I considered my options. My pre-med adviser had just given me permission to change my mind, a prospect that was filling me with anxiety. "Not everyone who gets through this program goes on to become a doctor. And that's not always because they aren't capable," he said. "Medical school is a lot of work, and getting there is only the beginning. If you aren't sure, maybe you should take some time to think about other possibilities."
So that's what I was doing. Flipping through catalogs for graduate programs for teachers, nurses and physicians' assistants, considering an application for Teach for America, imagining myself as something, anything, other than a doctor. This wasn't easy considering I'd been pursuing this singular goal since I was a freshman in high school. Now I found myself wondering what else I might be good at. Wondering if medical school was really where I wanted to go next.
When the time came, and I still hadn't decided what my next step should be, I passed on taking the MCAT and took the GRE instead, just in case graduate school found its way into my future. By graduation, there was still no clear plan laid out before me. While my classmates were preparing for Masters and Doctorate programs or the beginnings of their careers, I was planning to work at a jewelry shop for the summer. Not exactly a solid career choice, but it would pay the bills until I could find something that suited me better.
I wondered every day if I had made a mistake.
It took a while, but eventually that conversation in my adviser's office returned to my memory and I realized I was doing exactly what he had suggested. The fear of having made the wrong choice remained, but it started to mingle with the excitement of opportunity. With no plans, no clear goals, I was free to explore my dreams. I had been rescued from the responsibility of pursuing a goal that no longer fit who I had become. Who would I be from this moment on? What profession would make me happiest? How did I want to be remembered in this world?
I had the opportunity to choose my destiny and I would enjoy the process of making it a reality--whatever it might be.
This is my response to the prompt, Rescue, at Creativity Corner, a new series of creativity prompts at Write Out Loud. If you'd like to join in, write your own response to the prompt and then head over to Write Out Loud and leave a link in the Rescue comments.