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Monday, June 17, 2013

Adult Things

So.

I think I have a plan.

From middle school up until the middle of my junior year, I always thought I'd be a writer. I thought I'd go into Journalism or maybe I'd churn out a novel. I turned to blogging because it seemed promising. Hell, I went so far as to put ads up on this account to try to raise money and expand the reader base.

I stopped writing for a while. I posted statuses and did personal entries, but I felt drained by actually writing for others. I phrased things differently, censored myself a lot more, changed opinions based on what I thought others would want to read. It was no longer as pure as what I had started with, and it felt wrong for a while. I had to step out of that and go back to rawness. I'm still trying to get back to it.

I couldn't pursue a writing career because I'm still in the experimental phase. I'm trying to test out new things and I'm still highly affected by what others think. Therefore, I'm not learning to write for myself. Others are writing through me. I wouldn't want to devote my life to constant demands like that. Plus, taking courses would also shape me. I want to be able to figure writing out for myself. That's why I'd like to keep it as a hobby.

But I couldn't stop if I wanted to. If I go too long without churning out a few paragraphs of something, anything, I get itchy. It's like that's something within me that begs to be fulfilled, and that feeling won't stop until my fingers hit keys. I'm not lying when I say that writing (and singing for that matter) are the closest things I've had to a really intimate experience. I'm sure sex is fantastic, but if it comes anything close to the satisfaction that accompanies the completion of a piece, I'd be thrilled.

There's something really golden about completing a task. There's something really wholesome and satisfying about working hard towards something and finally reaching it. Instant gratification is nice. But there's something much more thrilling in the "chase".

I feel as though pursuing a career in writing will lead me on the "chase", but the pay-off in the end will not be as fulfilling. I don't love it enough for me to go into it like that and I'm not yet completely secure in my abilities. However, that doesn't make me any less of a writer. There is still passion. There is still a part of me that will always breathe creativity. But to make writing all that I am would be denying myself of other opportunities.

After a lot of personal discovery (staying up until 5 in the morning consumed by thoughts), I have been able to step out of myself and consider other things. Bigger things. Teeth things.

Dentistry. (Yeah, what???) I am not going to lie. What first drew me to it was the average 6-figure salary. That brought me to the brink of the pool. I rejected it at first. Dealing with patients. Dental school. Dental school tuition. Dental school debt. Only doing it for the money, which is apparently the worst thing anybody could do.

But I decided to crack down and do some hard-core research.

Some hard-core research.

I liken it to romantic attraction. So there's this really cute guy. I don't know anything about him, but I like the way he scrunches up his face when he smiles and I really like the way his arms look when he picks up heavy things. Can't help it, physical attraction. However, I realize that attempting to hang around this guy for the sole purpose of physical attraction wouldn't be very fulfilling. If it worked out, if I somehow established a relationship with him and we only kept it physical, I imagine one of us would get bored quickly.

But the personality, oh man, oh boy oh man. If only I knew a bit more about his personality. What makes him laugh. What he gets upset about. Oh boy. Oh man. Maybe we'd run into some disagreements, but then I could decide if we could work past that to have a more satisfying future. The physical stuff would be even MORE fantastic because I actually care about the person. If I could develop an emotional connection with this person, we would be set for life. That's marriage material right there.

I basically began dating Dentistry to find out more about its personality, to see if we'd be compatible. Wow, that was weird for me.

With writing, I had a very deep emotional connection. He was really good to me and good for me. But I could never go into a passionate relationship with it because it wouldn't be satisfying. Friend-zoned. I friend-zoned writing. ??????

The hunt for information was launched. I started to dive into forums and threads on Reddit for opinions and experiences. I started to really think about how I would like Dentistry. I fell into the trap of falling in love with another field. I did it with Engineering- convinced myself that this was something I wanted to do because I had a tiny bit of experience with it. I convinced myself that I could "survive" calculus in college in order to reach this goal. I was dead-set on becoming an engineer.

Back to the love-life metaphors. My relationship with Engineering was really shallow. I wanted to make it work. He was attractive, but he had little habits that I just couldn't get over. He wasn't a bad guy. Polite to waiters, always held doors open for me, made me laugh. But we just couldn't connect on anything. We had different interests and he seemed like a better fit for other girls. I still have a massive amount of respect for him, though. It was a clean break-up.

I don't want to do the same with Dentistry. With this, I feel as though it really is different. First of all, no calculus (hallelujah, praise!). The focus would be on biology (hallelujah, amen!). It would be something that I would have to "survive"- since I actually enjoy biology.

Second, the entire health field has always been very present in my life. It's like a theme. Both of my parents have careers in it. My mother works in a hospital and my father deals with the more technical, finance-y, computer-y side of the health industry. I really don't know what exactly he does, but it's health-related. We need to communicate more often...

Anyway, through them, I've had opportunities to peer into the industry and get a taste of what it's like. At the time, however, any interest in the health field was blocked out by my determination to be a writer. Now that the flame has simmered down, I have to reconsider things. I have to reconsider everything.

I had to sit down and ask myself if I would actually really truly want to go into this. It's more than being able to do the work. It's more than just liking biology. It's more than loaded paychecks.

Am I willing to spend my father's money on Dental school? Am I willing to commit myself to courses from hell? Am I going to enjoy working with people in a profession that faces a lot of negativity? I don't want to do something for the sole purpose of money. I want to be happy.

I don't know the answers to these questions yet, but that's why I'm trying it out through the online course. This gives me an opportunity to test out the dental world for a month. After completion, I can apply to become a Registered Dental Assistant, which would open up early job or internship opportunities. Even if I end up hating it, I will have learned something!

I guess that's the key. Trying stuff out. Testing. Getting into something to really see how it feels.

So yes. Right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I am tired of having to answer people who ask me, but they don't mean any harm. I am 17 years old. If you knew where you were going at this age, good for you. But I don't. I'm trying, though. My answer to the question: I'm interested in Dentistry. I'm not going to be a dentist, for sure, 100% all the way. I'm looking into it. I may lack direction, yes. But I'm trying.

I wish the group of unsure people were less judged by others and themselves. There's a difference between being unsure and being apathetic about your future. I DO want to know where to go. I want to know as soon as possible so I can start to work towards it. I just ? ?  ? ?????

One event that pissed me off a lot was when I was attending an engineering lecture, in which a guy came in to speak about well...engineering. He went around the room and asked the seniors what they were majoring in. They all said theirs. And then he came to me and I said that I didn't know. And well, I'm overthinking this, but being the only one in the room who didn't have a major to say was embarrassing. He was kind about it, though- the stuff about changing majors and having time.

IT IS OKAY TO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHILE YOU ARE SEVENTEEN. I wish I knew that back then. I would have been proud about it. I would have been proud because I'm in progress and that's okay.

It's not that I don't care. It's not that I didn't think about it. I obsess over it, as a matter of fact, because the whole world wants to know where you're headed.

I feel rushed. Yes, I get that people change all of the time. But I have to factor in the limited amount of money that my parents would have to spend. That's huge. I also have to consider time. If I flip-flop in the middle of the year and decide to pursue English instead of Dentistry, I'll have to worry about fitting in more courses, getting credits and all. To be honest, it all boils down to money. I don't mind paperwork and all of the hoops I'd have to go through, the meetings with advisors and whatnot. But I do not want to waste any time.

It's 3 in the morning and I feel drained. I'm going somewhere. I think.

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