Back when my younger sister was figuring out her major in college, I encouraged her to pursue something that she enjoyed learning, regardless of whether or not the major would lead to a high regarded job. I personally got a degree in a liberal arts major, which is typically viewed as fluff major that will lead me to a lifestyle of being a well-versed deadbeat. I did end up with a decent job after college, and I was able to enjoy my college classes, hence the advice I was generously offering to my sister.
Much to my surprise, my sister decided to pursue a major in chemistry.
Chemistry and I never got along. I only took it in high school, and I had the hardest time understanding the subject. I know that my sister, who had the same teacher and chemistry class, struggled with the class too. So I asked her incredulously, “Why would you want to make chemistry your major?”
Her answer was, “It just feels like the right thing to do.”
I have to admit, at the time that I heard that answer, I thought that she had to have been unduly influenced or brainwashed or something. I knew that she struggled with the high-school class as much as I did. I recalled her cursing our old teacher and his two wristwatches (one worn on each arm). I thought that she hadn’t thoroughly thought through her decision on her college major. I wasn’t exactly expecting her to choose a major similar to mine, but… chemistry?
I only recently understood the answer, “It just feels like the right thing to do.”
A majority of my high school (aside from that dreaded chemistry class) and college assignments consisted of papers and essays. Being that I didn’t really consider myself a stellar English/language arts student, I didn’t exactly enjoy all the forced compositions and the deadlines. Oh the deadlines!
However, when I really think about my high school and college classes, I recall that during many stolen moments and hours between the frantic writing and impossible, sometimes overlapping deadlines, there was another type of writing activity going on. Without really being aware or mindful of it, I was scratching out journal entries here and there, just unloading my thoughts and gripes in scattered notebooks everywhere. I had even managed to write a couple of first drafts of some semblance of YA fiction.
Reflecting upon these stolen moments, I realized that these covert times of authorship were more indicative of what my right thing should be:
I want to be a writer. It just feels like the right thing to do. And so, starting this year, I am a writer.
As for my sister? She’s now a full-fledged pharmacist.