Since my very first blog two and a half years ago, I’ve been talking about the facts that I’m majoring in biology and that I want to pursue a career in biomedical research. However, it recently occurred to me that I’ve never actually explained how I got into this major.
If you would’ve told me that I’d be a biology major when I was a freshman, sophomore, or even a fall-semester junior in high school, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. In high school, I loved English, Spanish, and communication classes. I took as many honors and college credit English and Spanish classes as I could. I remember loving my sophomore-level biology course; however, I had that purely American stereotype of science: if you go into science, you’re going to be a doctor. Since I can’t stand the sight of blood coming out of a human body, I thought that science was a field I’d never enter.
During my junior year of high school, I took an honors chemistry course. As it turned out, I was pretty good balancing chemical equations and performing titrations in lab. However, I still had that American stereotype of science. I did NOT want to be a doctor.
Then, right around Halloween of my junior year, my chemistry teacher took us on a field trip to the Science Center for SciFest, an event during which scientists from around the globe gave presentations on all aspects of science. I saw a presentation about the manufacturing of medicine that was given by a local pharmaceutical company. The entire time, I was fascinated by the entire process of bettering people’s lives by bettering the medicines that they take. A few months later, when I got serious about looking for colleges, I looked not for English and communication programs but for biology programs.
There are definitely days when I wonder what my life would be like if I’d never gone to SciFest and see that presentation that inspired me to completely change my mind about the field that I wanted to go into. I think about what it would be like to study British literature instead of the relatively-high rates of genetic HIV resistance found in Northern Europeans. But then I think about how blessed I am. I think about how I’ll be able to change the world by helping to advance our knowledge of medical treatments and cures, and I think about my work at the Science Center and about the potential I have to inspire younger generations to go into science due to my presence there.
All in all, I guess you could say that life is a full-circle trip. Do I actually know where I’ll end up? Definitely not. But I’m excited to find out.