This I Believe

Evan - Midlothian, Virginia
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

My Chemical Intuition

It sounds strange coming from a college student who has been rebellious for half his life but in all honesty I believe that I am destined to continue the work that my parents had begun.

When I lived in China, my mother worked as a medical doctor and also did some cancer research. With limited resources in daycare and my dad going to graduate school in the United States, my mother would frequently take me to her hospital, just so I had a place to stay. From watching my mother and loitering around the hospital, I developed a deep respect and admiration for her profession. For a long period after that, my sole aim was to become a doctor.

Soon after my entire family came to the United States, my father decided to change his course of study from electrical engineering to computer science. Fascinated with those seemingly mysterious machines that would from time to time emit weird humming noises, I spent hours next to my dad watching him trying out computer codes. From that, I developed fantasies about controlling the world with my super-fast mouse clicks.

Things changed dramatically. In high school, I became disillusioned with both of those careers. I was a clumsy student in science labs, spilling all kinds of noxious chemicals and breaking all sorts of equipment. When I volunteered in the operating room of a local hospital to see what I wish to become, I unexpectedly grew to hate the smell, the blood, and the frantic pace that seemed to pervade the hospital. Aside from that, I also gradually lost interest in computers. They were simply too boring for me. I concluded that I didn’t fit either career path.

Funny the way some things turn out. Not long after, I became captivated by chemistry. When college started, I immediately became active in chemistry research. Wait, did I say that I hated the medical field and computers a little while before? Well, my research combines both of those things; I use supercomputers to study molecules with anti-cancer potential. Not only that, I love every part of what I do.

But, it’s not about following the footsteps of my parents. I choose this path because it tugs at me and pulls me in like a whirlpool. I particularly like the feeling of discovering for myself my place in the world. Many of my friends choose majors and careers because they either want to follow or avoid their parents’ paths. For me, defining my own future is one of the privileges of life, of being a human. I just like what I do. I don’t believe that I must continue my parents’ contributions to society, but it just so happens that I will.