may 23/ facing obstacles
By Cherry Lim, APIASF Staff
I remember telling my mom I wanted to be a dentist when I was 7. Being a doctor meant dealing with a lot of blood, but as a dentist, I could support my family and help my community without all the guts. I applied to college and scholarships with Pre-Dental as my major and everyone who knew me in high school knew that I was going to clean their teeth one day.
Yet there I was – sitting in my dorm room, two years later, just about to sign a withdrawal form for yet another science class and facing the reality that dental school was getting further and further away. Was I not working hard enough? Why did I lack the passion that seemed to come so naturally for my classmates? Was the path to becoming a dentist not the right one for me?
College is supposed to be some of the best times in your life and a place where you can find yourself, but second semester sophomore year did not seem to be the right time to start looking. If I wasn’t going to be a dentist, what did I want to do?
I called my mom, as I normally do, absolutely sure that there would be yelling at the other end of the line. How would you support the family? We worked so hard to get you to college! But my mom simply said, “Whatever makes you happy.”
Turns out, I was putting too much pressure on myself to do something I didn’t have a passion for. I started taking classes that just sounded interesting instead of things I needed to take to apply to dental school and it showed. I was more engaged in my classes than ever before. My obstacle was to look past what I felt obligated to do and see what I really wanted to do.
As you can see in the picture above, after four tough years of “finding myself”, I finally graduated! It wasn’t easier because I was no longer taking difficult science classes, but it was worth it. I am now the proud owner of a degree in American Studies and a minor in Chinese. It was definitely not something I could have predicted for myself when I graduate high school!
What obstacles have you faced that you did not anticipate?