Growing up, I went through a pretty long phase where I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I would take my little doctor’s kit, and chase our dog, Max, around so I could check his heart beat and give him dog treats for being such a good patient. I loved animals, and I loved my play doctor’s kit so obviously I would be a “vetanarian” when I grew up (I had a little trouble with the pronunciation). But then, as I got older, I found out about all the science, blood and extra school that are involved and playing with that doctors kit didn’t seem so great anymore.
Apparently, my best friend hasn’t had that realization yet. She is a junior at UT in the pre-med program, and she isn’t exactly the best student. Despite the fact that she has failed two of her required science classes, and has yet to pass a practice MCAT test, she is still determined to go to medical school and become a doctor, an oncologist to be exact. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when we were in middle school, and while she did recover, watching her mom go through the treatment and struggle with cancer convinced my best friend to go to medical school so she could cure cancer one day. Seeing her today, struggling to pass classes she hates and study for subjects she doesn’t find interesting, makes me so sad. I have so many friends who are “stuck” in majors they hate but for one reason or another don’t see any other option for them.
Career options aren’t black and white, and I think that too often young students see their future that way. While my best friend’s grades in science are sub-par, she took a communications class and not only did she ace it, she loved it! So instead of “curing” cancer in a literal sense, why not major in public relations or communications and work for a charity that raises money for cancer research? In my case, I knew I could never make it through the medical school required to be a vet, even though I absolutely love animals. So instead of transferring my love of animals to my career, I found a local animal shelter and volunteered regularly for over four years.
I am a huge believer in the phrase “do what you love and love what you do.” Before you embark on a career move, or pick a major, explore all your options. Remember that you can still have hobbies/extracurricular activities outside of school and your job. Just because you loved playing doctor, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right career for you. I mean, that plastic stethoscope didn’t even work anyway!