Changing Course

Up until a few years ago, I wanted to be a doctor. It wasn’t just your typical child’s play, though. A Fisher Price doctor kit wasn’t good enough for me. I had a real one. This was serious business!

The kit contained a real doctor’s stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, two sets of scrubs, a white lab coat and syringes in a pink flowery bag. The materials came from Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, courtesy of my aunt, the nurse. I took the kit everywhere, forcing my friends and family members to be my patients while I checked their blood pressures and heart beats.

Ironically, I hated English class in school and loved biology. I preferred dissecting a frog to writing an essay on Shakespeare or anything like that. My freshman year of high school, I  already decided I would take physics (something I really had to force myself to do) in order to make it into AP Biology my senior year. And I did it. I was getting ready to attend college and study pre-med and possibly move on to med school at Albany Medical. I was prepared to a T.

Senior year was at its peak and then something happened. I didn’t want to study medicine anymore.

I visited so many colleges and toyed with so many majors. I thought physician’s assistant, psychology, education, music and even thought about not going to school at all. Journalism never crossed my mind. In fact, my first semester at the community college I went to, the editor of the Chronicle, the school paper, came to my class and encouraged us to get involved. I actually wrote it off so quickly, I didn’t even think twice about it.

I guess you could say I didn’t find journalism, but it found me.

The first article I wrote for the Chronicle was a flowery piece on my orchestra. It was good — for a chapter book! I have come a long way since then, and I will never forget my time there. I am afraid I won’t get a job after all is said and done and, sometimes, I think about the alternative. What if I had sucked it up and just followed the plan? Well, I guess I would be studying for my MCATS right about now rather than writing this column for the Oracle.

I don’t know exactly why I left my dream of becoming a doctor, but I found something very special. Journalism may not always be glamorous, but it is the coolest job in the world. I get to be a psychologist, politician, athlete, musician, doctor and engineer for a day. I get to experience everything and learn about a variety of topics. Instead of dissecting cadavers, I get to dissect people’s minds. Because everyone has a story to tell, and it’s my job to extract it.