Lost at heart

Those who wander are not necessarily lost   – Joseph Stein 

I envy the ones that know where they want to go in life; the ones that have a clear idea of which direction they are heading as they cruise down the highway into the future.

Take for example the executive member of my student mentor team, whom I ran into the other day. She’s a great girl: very positive, always enthusiastic, kind to everyone. This summer she is writing the OAT, a test required for admission into optometry programs in Canada and USA. She plans on applying to schools in the United States and she has her heart on becoming an optometrist.

I look up to her as a senior partly because of her clear path in life. Many students start out with a vague idea of what interests them and then find a career goal as they enter their upper years of school. For me, the experience was the exact opposite. When I applied for the life sciences program at my university, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Or so I thought. I had my heart set on going into pharmacy when I was in first year… but then the reality of how difficult that would be set in. University chemistry was not my forte (I prefer biology courses). I even came to dread chemistry during my second year. How can a pharmacist expect to succeed if he/she does not even like chemistry?

So now, I am lost. I don’t know where I’m going with my life. People keep telling me “it’s okay,” but I really don’t feel that way. I wanted to have a clearer direction, so I went to talk to a career counselor. She basically told me I need to 1) assess my values and  what gives me satisfaction in life 2) research based on everything in 1).

At times like these, I go back to my dreams…. If I was free of the constraints of society and money, what would I want to do? The answer was simple: I still don’t know. But that’s not because I have nothing I would want to do, it’s because I would want to do so much: be a pastry chief, portrait artist, comic artist, Youtube musician, professional blogger, DIY guru, parkour instructor… there’s just so much! Someone’s probably reading this and thinking, “why not just do something instead of mulling for the rest of your life?” This is true; I could be doing all of those things… but I feel like I would not be good enough at each of them. I want to succeed. I want to do a lot. But if there is something I don’t want, it is to be inadequate at what I do. If I’m going to do something, I want to put my whole heart into that activity. By dividing up time to do everything, I worry I won’t be able to keep to the standards at which I hold myself.

So where does this all leave me? …I’m not really sure, but the one thing I know I can count on is that if I sit around and do nothing I will never be happy. I’m going to spend the rest of my time on earth doing the things that make me happy so that at the end of the day (and my university education), I will know I’ve been doing things the right way. I’m going to get creative with cake recipes and practice my piping skills. I’m going to combine my interest in biology and art by focusing my drawing on the human anatomy. I’m going to continue to practice my singing everyday and take a vocal techniques course (which happens to be free at my university!). I’m also going to increase my endurance so that maybe in the fall term I will be able to join my university’s parkour club without falling behind.

I can only have faith that along the way I will find a catalyst that will make me think “Yes, this is what I want to do.” Until then, I will enjoy my life and the people I am very grateful for.

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