“Social Work” vs. “Pre-Med” Part I.

It started off as a ambition and determination to be the first doctor in my family…specifically a Cardiologist. I had wanted to study medicine since my freshman year in high school. I kept this desire with me up until this year–I had dreamed of being a doctor for 7 years.

Athlete + Pre-Med major isn’t probably the BEST combination. And I’m not just the average athlete; I plan to have a professional career after college. If I’m not in class, I am on the track and vice versa.

The pre-med curriculum at Cal is considered “integrative biology.” You take math, physics, chemistry, organic chemistry, and biology. I had taken all the math, all of biology and that left me with Chemistry and Physics. I passed the first physics class but just last semester… wait for it…I failed Chemistry and Physics II at the same time.

I struggled the past three years of college in the sciences and math. I failed math my first year and retaken the course. It has not been peaches and creams for me in the IB Department. However, I kept thinking, “I’m sure all doctors fail courses and still turn out to be quite successful.” And that I am right about! BUT, I began to fool myself. I kept thinking eventually, I’ll get through college, get to med school and these small failures wouldn’t mean anything. But, I found myself forcefully trying to like it…forcing myself to study pre-med, not because I wanted to, but because I felt if I chose an “easy” route, not only would I look like a quitter, but also I would disappoint my mom, my high school coaches, and my family. I wasn’t even concerned with disappointing myself. I had never felt so much pressure in my life.

One day, I called my mom and just balled! It was like someone died. I was so full of failure and sadness of not feeling fulfilled in pre-med. I just couldn’t understand why it wasn’t working out. My grades were not only failing, but it was affecting sports. I couldn’t even practice my best knowing that school was on its way to an abyss. After this emotional moment with my mom, she concluded our conversation saying these words to me that gave me the most comfort in the world.

“It doesn’t matter what you choose to do. Mommy is going to be proud of you regardless. You and are your sister are the first generation to attend prestigious universities, and you have excelled so well in track. Just graduate from school, and whatever you decide to do, God is going to be sure you are successful and happy at the same time. Besides, you’re too much of a social butterfly to be boxed into medicine.”

And she was right. So then I started the search for a major that could fit my love for human beings and the desire to help them. That’s why I wanted to be a doctor so bad. I wanted to be a doctor whom the patients could put their 100% trust in and knew that I gave the world about them and I would do everything in my power and limitations to help them.

I told everyone about my change and everyone was OK. It went better than I thought until I told my high school coach who always drilled it in my head that I was going to Berkeley to be a cardiologist. Well, let’s just say he didn’t have any encouraging words except: “What are you going to do with a Social Work degree? Why go to a school like Cal for that?”

At this point, our relationship was already a bit messed up from a situation 2 years ago (will go into detail later), so this was just insult to that bruised relationship.

BOTTOM LINE:  Everyone who mattered was on board and supported me 100%. Stay tuned for the next post in which how I found social work and what made me so sure it is what I truly want to do.

Thanks for reading and following! I appreciate it a bunch!


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