One morning, my roommate, Emily, and I battled about who had the more amusing teacher and the two competitors were her biology professor, Dr. Ghedotti, and my neuroscience professor, Dr. Lafosse. Dr. Lafosse collected the golden trophy. I will never forget the function of the sympathetic nervous system. It is aptly named your “fight or flight” response. Why is this engrained in my brain? Dr. Lafosse is the reason. Surprising the class with a “pop quiz” fuels the flight response. Bladders all of a sudden called for a bathroom and books flew open as eyes opened wide. I decided I was going to suck it up though and fight. One brilliant young man reckoned Dr. Lafosse’s syllabus mentioning nothing about those beloved, good ol’ pop quizzes. Enthused and pleased, Dr. Lafosse yelled out, “CORRECT! YOUR SYMPATHETIC SYSTEM JUST WENT CRAZY THOUGH, DIDN’T IT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN?!”
This is a teacher I look up to for more than his quirky lectures though. That day of Emily’s and my ranting about how great our teachers are, lunch time came around and our empty, college stomachs needed to be filled! As we waltzed to the cafeteria of Regis University, guess who was reading the newspaper outside! With a bright, chipper “hello” from me, Dr. Lafosse put his paper down to be enlightened about the showdown that took place between Emily and I! Laughing at our ridiculousness, he invited us to lunch. Planted there, waiting for us to come, the cosmos gestured this lunch would be different. We began filling our stomachs and Emily left early for a meeting so it was just me and Dr. Lafosse. The grilling came my way! I confidently told him I wanted to be a neurosurgeon…then I retracted murmuring, “But I don’t know…if I am smart enough, if this is my calling, if this is my passion – it is also so hard to be focused on a career that will take me till I am 33 years old.” He gave me words of wisdom I hold near and dear to my heart. First he told me his story – taking a year off before college to figure out a career and test the waters of business, law, medicine and everything in between. Just like me, he had been secretly lost. “Gioconda, we cannot focus too hard because then that closes off other influences for our future that we may need to see,” are words I go back to when in doubt. The fact of the matter is that your career is your life and your life takes time. Be not afraid of changing career paths – in fact, it is imperative we change. Changing and risking is moving forward. He stressed that college is all about experiencing careers and getting a taste of different options – take these risks because this is how you find your unexpected passion. Your disgusts should be official and your likes will lead you to the sky and beyond, if persistence is your guide. Your change will be worth it once you realize your life track would be nothing without it. I cannot wait to send a “Thank you” letter to Dr. Lafosse when I discover my life, my purpose down the road of change – after all, he is the one who will have fueled it. Dr. Lafosse even paid for this lunch which confirms the notion – some of the best things in life are free!
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