Not sure how many times this ever crosses someone’s mind, but I know for me in the past it used to: “Why am I here? What can my degree even do? I’m paying thousands and thousands of dollars to go here and for what? Why can’t I just not go to school and start working? Working is so much more meaningful than this…”
In the club that I lead (Health Activism Committee, HAC), we have been going to Clemente High School to present health topics to freshman biology students. The presentations include nutrition, drugs, sex education and mental health. I am SO proud of my committee members and can't wait to compile all of their experiences and comments to improve the program for next year! We plan on going to more schools in April so that we can reach out to more populations that need this kind of information. Pictured here are Varvara V. and Collin L. presenting the mental health part of the health education program. Patrick F. took the picture from his iPhone. Thank you Patrick! =)
That was the past mentality I had during the year I had a lot of second thoughts about medicine, evidenced by my willingness to take on so many part-time jobs/work that are not related to medicine in any way (art-stuff mainly). Surprisingly, I managed to pull off an amazing GPA last semester (darn organic chemistry lab made it not 4.0) with my eight part-time jobs, but this semester it really hit me that I need to dedicate everything to my education because that’s all I’ll really ever have in life that is mine.
I mean, you can fall back and just find a job and start working straight out of high school, but you’ll never get the chance to really explore what it is you want and don’t want. For some people it’s really easy (they don’t like a lot of things and go with what they like or would be good at) and for some people like me it’s incredibly difficult (I like everything and have capability to go and do those things well).
I’m really glad I chose to go to UIC because it has allowed me to take so many different classes with such a diverse community that I don’t think I could get from any other university. Yeah, I could have graduated last year if I REALLY wanted to (it would beat my brother graduating in three years), but I chose not to. And previously in my head I felt like it might have been a dumb idea to not have graduated so early, you know, save two years of tuition money and go out and work (I doubt medical schools would want me because I’d be 19 and the average age to go to medical school is 24)…mainly gain some experience in the health field while working on my MCAT and application…but I didn’t.
And I’m glad I didn’t. I’m growing with each year that I am here and it’s so wonderful. I look at all of the elective classes that I took that I didn’t have to take at all (most of my friends just take the bare minimum to graduate so they can get out of here and move on with their lives) and I do not regret it. My major classes are not bad either, but it’s my electives that kept me interested and wanting to work hard in school because those allowed me to really understand what my passion was.
And even though someone could look at my major and pre-professional goal and say,”Oh, just another biological sciences/pre-med student,” I’m so much more than that. What I have put in and taken away from all of my classes at UIC have shaped me to always be open-minded, humble and happy.
Sure, we have happiness in other things–relationships, family, friends–but people come and go. People pass away. People move on. And if it is true that family and friends shape you to be you, then who will you be when they are gone? They will be a memory and you will be hurt and sad that they are gone. Furious maybe, but ultimately upset and wondering what to do. And what will you fall back on? Yourself and what you made yourself to be. And you’ll look back at your accomplishments and realize that a lot of it was academically related and that it was your education that brought you there.
But of course, education comes in a lot of forms. Education is not at all restricted to the classroom or lecture setting. We learn from many experiences that we have and we take what we want from them and give what we can.
I guess my point is that your investment in whatever path you take is ultimately a decision that you make and no one can stop you. Making informed decisions about your future will surely grant you success in a life that you’ll be proud of. Learning is a lifelong process and I believe you will be very happy ’til the very end as long as you have a solid education in any form you please.