We have a third year student: pre-med. After med school, she will become a doctor, but not just any doctor, a surgeon. She comes from a family of immigrants from Africa, Asia, and South America, but it doesn’t matter. "There was a sacrifice to come to America," her parents always tell her, and she needs to honor that sacrifice by becoming successful. Her parents have done everything they could to make sure she has the opportunity to be anything, not just anything, to be successful. Successful is understood to be financially stable. It doesn’t mean rich, it just needs to be good money so her children have happy childhoods and they can have even more opportunities than she did. In order to fulfill her parent’s wishes, she must aspire to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer. Maybe she can do business, but that’s a little risky.
She is the first born out of three. Immediately, she is the role model figure for her siblings and all of her cousins too. Her parents not only have high hopes, but they love to brag about their future doctor to friends and family. At every family event, she is greeted with even higher hopes and expectations from her family. “How’s school?” They would ask. “I know you’re getting those straight A’s. You are making all of proud.” She hears at least 5 times. She is doing well, it is what she feels, but it is not the straight A’s everyone expects. Sure, she excelled in high school, but high school was easy if you paid attention in class. College was a lot harder. There was so much work, so many social events, and so many boys. She managed to juggle, but still fell below her parents' desired mark. Not to mention, she almost failed a class, but only because she couldn’t understand the concepts no matter how hard she tried. She mentioned this to her mother once, and her mother reminded her she cannot give up because there were so many sacrifices madeto get her to a great, expensive college, even with the scholarships.
For a while back, in high school, she didn’t know what she wanted to do. Her mother had been pushing medicine since she started school, and she did like science growing up, but did she want to do it because of herself or because of her parents? Hospitals made her feel weird; it was a constant battlefield between life and death. She didn’t spend much time in there; the only time she saw a doctor save a life was when her sister was born. She decided she would be interested in law. She loved to argue and she saw on the news how the law is failing citizens. She brought this idea up at a family dinner and immediately the idea was struck down. She would do medicine because that’s all she has wanted to do or maybe that’s because that was all she was told.
Graduation is approaching. Not at the end of the year, but close enough for her to be constantly feeling dread and apprehension. She doesn’t know what she wants to do. Her interests aren’t strong enough for any strong and successful career. She can’t tell her parents because she will be faced with disappointments. She can’t tell her friends, because they don’t understand her parents and culture. She can’t even talk to herself about it, the doubt will consume her. Her friends are excited to be done with school. They can get their own place and really delve into their careers. Their envisioned futures are bright and glorious. Their dreams are motivation to keep pushing and to plan out their future. She doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. The passion is not the same for her; the doubt is always there, and she can’t keep pushing it away.
The time to go forward is now. She doesn’t know where she is going, she is taking one step at a time. Slowly, she begins looking at options. What kind of career does she want? Where does she want to go to school? What kind of mark does she want to leave in the world?
Who is she? But more importantly, who does she want become? The answer is starting to unfold, one day at a time.