I hope I have made you proud
Dear younger me,
I know you’re confused, should you do journalism? What about packing fish in Alaska, maybe a paramedic… I know you don’t care right now, but you really should.
Stop cheating on science quizzes, you actually do understand and enjoy the work. You just enjoy the extra 30 minutes of not studying and it’s something fun to do with your friends. Stop that right now and find other ways to entertain yourself. Even though Mean Girls hasn’t come out yet, you’ve started pretending not to understand in maths class to get the guy behind you to help you. It will backfire when, you really don’t understand and at the end of the year, you’ve only completed 3 pages of homework the day before an exam. In fact, you’ve become so proficient at playing dumb, that when a girl asks you what you want to do after school, and you reply with physiotherapy, and she tells you, “you have to be smart to do physiotherapy” … not only have you convinced other people that you don’t have what it takes, but sadly, you start believing it yourself.
That brilliant brain fart that you’ve had to only focus your efforts on English and Biology homework and ignore the rest… It’s the start of your fear of failure, I mean if you don’t even try it won’t hurt when you fail, right? Well, you will fail countless times throughout your life and you better start getting used to it, because it’s the foundation that builds a great scientist. Yes, you will be a scientist but we’ll get to that later on.
You’ll move schools and suddenly you’re in a competitive environment like never before. You’ll realise for the first time in your life that all that pretending has even got new teachers believing that you aren’t actually smart. And it will be the beginning of a long journey of self-doubt for you.
You’ll fail the first science test of the year. Little do you know, it’s a ploy to actually weed out the weaklings. You see, your school is known for being a top achiever in maths and science, and you and many other unfortunate souls are about to jeopardise their records. So when you get told you should rather do typing than science, don’t take it personally. Instead you’ll get a great tutor who sees your potential and make you work on it every damn day. And you’ll end up getting an A.
When you get told, you will never get in for physiotherapy with the maths marks you have, again, get a great tutor, work your butt off and get a B, followed by a distinction in University maths (future you still doesn’t understand calculus).
Choose a science degree because you find it challenging. Put your head down, work hard while others party and you’ll graduate with distinction. Your love affair with viruses will kick off and it’ll be a stormy ride for sure.
When the only criticism you get after a departmental seminar is, how does she do her labwork when she’s so… short. It’ll take you years to find your voice, but then you’ll make Instagram clips showing how you actually get around lab spaces that were not made for “people like you”.
When they say, “the candidate fails to show proficiency as a scholar of science at the level of a Master’s degree.” You will feel like your world has come crashing down. It’ll take you a long time to heal from the insults, but you will start a PhD. More to prove to yourself that you are a scholar of science. This, is in fact, possibly the dumbest reason to pursue this degree but boy will you learn from it.
When you get told, if she put more effort into her labwork than putting up pictures at her workspace…, cover the whole damn wall and carry on anyway.
Be grateful for the sceptics and the naysayers. Without them, you might never have discovered your potential and would’ve meandered down the lazy river of complacency.
You (almost PhinisheD)