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Future Goals

As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve changed a lot since first entering college. While my looks have changed (in my opinion) quite astronomically, I think the biggest change I’ve experienced has been in my personal interests. For example, had you told me as I went through my first semester of general chemistry as a freshman that in a year I’d be weirdly passionate about alkanes, alkenes, and alkynes, I would have been pretty skeptical. Actually, if you had told me that I would know and understand what those things were, I would have been pretty skeptical, too. But that’s exactly where I found myself the next year: spending hours in my dorm studying organic chemistry because I liked it. And I was good at it. That’s when I decided to add a chemistry minor, and, in the spring, one in biology as well. All that from a girl who hated science in high school (I blame that on lazy, bad teachers. Okay, and I was lazy about science then, too.)!

Excuse me while I geek out here, but adding all of these extra science classes has seriously opened my eyes to things I had never thought about before. Organic chemistry has made me realize just how incredibly toxic the world we live in is, from the foods we put in are bodies that are full of crazy sounding chemicals or are sprayed with pesticides, to the things we put on our bodies that contain such lovelies as phthalates and fragrances. As I begin to test my biology skills (which are terribly rusty from high school, thanks to the aforementioned bad teachers and my laziness), I’ve come to realize how incredibly sophisticated the natural world is. Not to mention beautiful! And also, have you ever stopped to think about how amazing the human body is? And how, if we really respect it, it’s capable of doing some pretty impressive stuff?

So. As soon as I think I have my future potential career all chosen, I realize usually around two weeks later that maybe there’s something else I’d rather do. And that’s the case now. I started off the year thinking I wanted to go into environmental toxicology and molecular nutrition, but now I’m not so sure what I want to do! There’s so much stuff that fascinates me at this point that I don’t know how I’ll ever narrow it down. If I could have a job that allows me to travel and experience the natural world in all its glory, and it somehow ties the topics of plant foods and human nutrition together, that’s what I’d want to do. Wouldn’t it be cool to go to the rainforest and study the nutritional properties of some exotic plant food? I mean, surely that’s a job, right? Whoever concluded that chocolate is in fact good for us or that chia seeds are incredible little powerhouses, I applaud them. And this week, I want their job.

I guess what got me thinking about this was my trip to the Botanical Gardens yesterday. The more time I spend there, the happier and more confused I am. I have a feeling, though, that eventually it’ll all come together if I just keep pursuing those very things that make me happy. So I suppose I’ll leave you with a quote from the late Steve Jobs that I have hanging above my desk that reminds me to keep moving forward, despite the confusion:

“Follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.”

-Carly

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Every day I check my Fontbonne email, hoping that maybe one of my friends decided to leave something exciting in my inbox (and with friends like fellow bloggers Courtney and Elizabeth, this does in fact happen pretty much on a daily basis. Seriously, you guys make my day with your emails, and I should probably start returning the favor, yes?). With that idea in mind, today’s post is partly inspired by the link that WebMD-addict Courtney (and I say that in a very loving way, of course!) forwarded to me today: a slideshow about acupuncture from none other than webmd.com.

Last semester, in addition to crying in frustration and stress about the large workload I had to do, I spent a lot of time crying over the fact that for some reason, I couldn’t seem to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with my life. The idea of working as a dietitian in a clinical setting has never meshed with me personally. While I will have to do volunteer work in a hospital setting and it’s highly likely that my nutrition internship will likewise be with a hospital, it’s not where I see myself ultimately working. I always knew that if I was going to be a registered dietitian, I wanted to open my own private practice. Despite having all of that figured out, though, I still felt as though something was missing. “Maybe the nutrition field isn’t for me,” I thought. So I began entertaining the idea of entering a different career field altogether and becoming a physical therapist. Still, that didn’t feel right, either.

Late last summer, I started receiving acupuncture treatments. My acupuncturist in Webster Groves is pretty awesome; when she talked about my qi (or chi) during those first appointments, I was mystified. What did all of these ancient terms mean? How could sticking needles behind my ears, or one right in the middle of my forehead, or one in the inside of my foot (that one always hurts, but none of the others do!) reset my body and heal me from within? How did she know about food and nutrition as well? The pieces were starting to slowly come together. I definitely had an interest in this incredible medicinal practice, but I still wasn’t totally sure if I was interested in pursuing it.
My grandma gave me the inspiration I needed to make my decision. Despite having skin cancer and leukemia, she’s never undergone a Western form of treatment for her illnesses, turning to acupuncture and other natural treatments instead (and it’s working…her skin looks better every time I see her! It’s truly amazing!). Whenever she would talk about the acupuncturist who she’s currently seeing and the wealth of knowledge he possesses, I knew that I wanted to be able to heal people naturally, too, and that I wanted to be not just an average professional, but rather, an expert in my field. That’s when it all finally came together: my goal is to attend my dream nutrition internship (which I found a couple of weeks ago online) and become a Registered Dietitian, before going to graduate school to get my Master of Science in Oriental Medicine. Someday I hope to have my own private practice where I can educate my clients about natural nutrition and heal them with ancient techniques that really work.

So, long story short, if there’s one thing that I’ve gotten out of this school year, in addition to being able to synthesize various organic compounds and toss around fancy food science terms to annoy my mother while she cooks, it’s definitely the fact that I think I’ve found my passion, considering I’ve never been this excited about a potential career before. And as the school year slowly comes to an end (spring break = the week after next!), I’m excited to see what I can do this summer to help me achieve my future goals.

Have an awesome rest of the week, everyone! And thanks, Courtney, for giving me something to blog about! I owe you…as usual.

-Carly

“Genesis” by Grimes (My song obsession of the week…)

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.