I always thought that there were three categories of kids... categorised on the basis of their ambitions!
Type 1: The kind who keep changing their mind every now and then. One day you ask "whatcha wanna do when you grow up?" and the kid says "I wanna be a pilot", another time maybe a cop, or a doctor, a sailor, superman etc etc etc. They form quite a big group, don't they? :)
Type 2: The kind who have absolutely no idea what they want to do when they grow and decide to take life as it comes. The type who know that they will figure it out at some point of time and things will become clear soon. I believe the majority of 'em (not just kids! even adults at times :P ).
Type 3: This is a rare breed... I wouldnt have even thought of this as a "category" if I hadn't met my close friend, Nairi. When she shifted to my city when I was in primary school, I asked her what she wanted to become. She said she wanted to become a doctor. I asked her in Middle School, she said she wanted to become a doctor, I asked her in High school, she said she wanted to become a doctor. Today, she is a second year MBBS student. She never doubted what she wanted even once!
Till very recently, I was under the delusion that I also fell in Type 3, along with Nairi... Only a while back I realised I couldn't have been more wrong about this. All through Primary school and till 7th standard in Middle School, I was absolutely sure I wanted to be a Chemist. You know why? My dad's a chemistry professor... my mom's got a Ph.D in chemistry too! So has my dad's elder brother and his younger brother. I come from a fmaily of Chemists!!! And well... if a watchmaker's son also becomes a watchmaker (excuse me here for choosing this example... spent a free evening of mine watching Heroes :P), why should chemists be any different???!!! Then in 7th standard came along a little concept called "Oxidation" and brought along "reduction" too! We didn't get along too well... Things became from bad to worse and well.... the idea of becoming a chemist pretty much went down the drain :P
Then I got the idea of becoming a volcanologist! I pursued that for quite a while... until I stumbled across a website stating that Volcanologists get a bad salary... they can barely make their ends meet... And if they live in a place as expensive as Hawai.. well... then thats that. And...er... um... ahem... I like my comforts, thank you very much! :P But seriously folks... I didn't think i was fit for the job...
Astronomy... that crossed my mind once I dropped volcanology... But it crossed my mind at a point of time in my life when I was so absolutely sure that after I completed studies, I wanted to wrok ONLY in India and for India. If one takes astronomy and really loves the subject, I believe that person should work under NASA. I wasn't too interested in joining ISRO, for some reason... I guess i wasn't made for that job either... physics is definitely not my cup of tea!!!!
I considered agriculture (my mom is still ready to buy an acre of land somewhere for me to set up my lab! :P) too! That was a very short lived thought! It left as quickly as it entered my mind.
The final two years of my school, I maintained that I wanted to do Molecular Biology. And it was mainly my teachers who kept asking us what we wanted to do. Out of a sea of "MBBS" and "B.Tech" answers, mine was the unique "B.Sc Molecular Biology" answer. Loads of people lifted their brows on hearing that. Most of the people didn't even know there existed something called Molecular biology! I'd say "molecular biology" and they'd ask me "is that the same as microbiology?" *sigh* I'd rely... "yes... its similar". I applied for Molecular Biology in NUS. But didn't get the admission letter till late June. By then colleges had started in India and I was doing B.Sc Chemistry coz I thought NUS wasn't gonna happen. My teachers were impressed to see that the girl who gave the seemingly impossible career as an option was now gonna major in it at an Undergrad level! :D :D
Today I look back and wonder... under what type do I classify myself? Hmm... seems obvious at first glance... I fall under type 1... But I stop to think again. Maybe I am not a pure breed type 1 girl. I am a bit of that and a bit of type 2... coz to be absolutely honest, I have NO idea whatsoever about where I am headed. I am just taking things as they come. A part of me wants to do pure research (the part that is most likely gonna get its way.. its a BIG part of me). A part of me wants to do Ph.D then get an MBA and get into administration. A part of me wants to... well... just get into music!!! Learning to play the violin has been a life altering experience. Hard to describe how and why in a few lines... I'll probably save that for another post! But a part of me just doesn't know where I am headed. I was pretty pissed at myself for that. I used to think that I was the type who knew what she wanted and would go any lengths to get it. I really don't know what I want anymore....
I met a professor a couple of days back. I want to do a project under him next academic year. He agreed to take me on and said he wanted to meet me first. He asked me... in the area I am working in, what would you like to do a project on? I said... "uh... er... I just know the very broad basics of your area. I did an introductory course on it only last semester. I liked what I studied and decided to expand on it by working with you. But the problem is... I just don't know what i am interested in. To be frank, I am just exploring topics because i am so unsure about what to do next. I was hoping doing a project in your group would help me put things into perspective so that I can make an informed decision for my honours year project." I was waiting for him so give some sorta sarcastic remark or something after hearing me say that i wasn't even sure of what I wanted to do.
He said, "thats amazing! Its not unusual to be confused at this point. I appreciate the fact that you are bold enough to try and explore to make up your mind. And I am happy you were honest about being unsure. I will design some project for you and you can see if it works for you. Its good that you realise that you don't know what to do in future... atleast now you will prepare yourself for everything to come"
I guess it isn't a bad thing to be clueless every once in a while about where you are headed :)