“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
10 year old self “I want to be a dentist!”
As long as I could remember, it was my dream, ambition and goal. Most of my life decisions, especially in my academics have been based on this goal I’ve set on my whole life. When in doubt of what to choose, I look to this goal, being a dentist. I was one of the few ones among my friends who had a very clear vision of what I wanted to be in the future and everyone admired that. Also the fact I wanted to take after my father.
To be a dentist would be something familiar to me. I know what to expect and what to do in a life of a dentist, I live in one and I grew up in one. My father is a dentist and an amazing one too. Everyone tells me what a great dentist he is and as a young girl, seeing how respected my father was in the family and the community in general, I lonnged to be like him and hopefully one day be like him.
To be a dentist, everyone tells me I had to be smart. My mother always reminded me of how hard my father worked to get to his position. He wasn’t from a previledged family and he still got to where he was. I knew the steps how to get there and I just had to put them in action.
To be a dentist, all my subjects had been chosen and outlined for me. My goal does not give me flexibility and I have to do what I gotta do, which is Science. All the sciency stuffs were always part of my timetable in school. Back in my Malaysian school, students were seperated into “streams”. Science stream for the so-called smart ones and Arts stream for the slightly less smart ones. Obviously I had to score to get into the Science stream, I needed it. It was the start of my Science journey and there was no looking back.
Everytime I have to come to a decision in “subject selection”, I will never fail to refer to the Dentistry websites for the pre-requisites. They were like my “bible” for making my subject decisions. Biology and Chemistry were always compulsory no matter what.
However, I admit that a full on Science curriculum would bore me to death. There was some flexibility and I filled my electives with random subjects like Accounting, Business and all things asians choose. They weren’t my priority subjects and I never really put the effort in them. 90% effort to anything science and 10% to the rest and it has been something I’ve been just doing for ages.
Funnily enough, my priority subjects and non-priority results always seem to add up to the same marks. The non-priority subjects were never really dangerously low or close to fail. I’ll be completely honest with you, even back in school, I’ve failed my maths and sciences before but I have never once failed a humanities subject. Yet I never saw myself as a humanities student and persistent on the sciences, because of the goal.
I applied to every single state in Australia for university and I got an offer from each of them I replied to. I was allowed to put in 12 choices to each state. I didn’t get my first choice in any of them because my results, in my opinion, pretty disappointing. Then again, I was still focussed on the goal, I accepted the offer that will most likely still lead me to it, hence Bachelor of Science in Melbourne University, Hurraaah!
I declined most of the offers from the other states. Melbourne was the most logical one anyway, I had both my home and family there. I thought, probably God doesn’t want me to leave them thats why he is offering the course closest to the goal at home. However, there was another offer that came late. Bachelor of Laws in Media from Adelaide. It was random really, I never expected that. I applied to it to fill the 5 other spaces for Adelaide applications after my obviously failed Bachelor of Dental Surgery application. To get it was unexpecting because Law isn’t the easiest to get into.
My mum was really keen for me to except it, she kept going on about it even after I deffered it. It was the only other course I decided not to decline.
Half a year passed and I was doing average in Science, I wasn’t scoring nor failing when the letter to accept Laws came flying by my nose again. I thought to myself that maybe the reason for not scoring was my laziness, I gave myself and excuse to stay in science because for some reason, I still wanted that goal.
Then came the failures. I mentioned how I’ve failed my sciences back in school but those were tests and quizzes. I’ve never failed exams or any major papers in my life before. Again the funny thing was my breadth subjects which I gave yet 10% again, passed through like ABC. Still I blamed myself for not working harder in my sciences. I was given a second chance to repeat in the summer and this time I managed to get through it.
Them came the blow from the latest semester. Something I swore I will never speak about but I think it’s about time to.
I decided to take up a breadth subject relating to the course I eventually declined last year, Copyright and Media Law stuff. It was honestly out of impulse as well as an interest. I figured if I had taken this course, I wanted to have a taste of whats it like. Just like all my other humanities subjects, I gave Law my least attention yet again.
Both Law and Physiology exams were set on the same day. Physiology being the prereq for dentistry, I spent the night before just memorising all the kidneys, nervous systems and all things physiology. I made my mum help me print my notes for my Law exams as it was and open book exam and hopefully, i could figure something out while I’m at it (which I did).
The results came out and I felt like a teenage girl who knew what she did but did not expect to get pregnant (not that I experienced that), but I can imagine it would be pretty similar.
I failed all my core sciences, everyone of them except for Law.. stupid law.. what on earth, I didn’t even do anything.
I was so angry with myself, so depressed, so upset, I ruined my own holiday. I spent 2 weeks thinking and figuring out what went wrong with myself. Couldn’t figure out at all. I was so nervous they were kicking me out of my course.
I decided I should seek the help of a counsellor. The response I got was shocking
“you might be having depression.”
Telling a girl who is upset with her results and tell her she’s having depression is equivalent to giving her scissors.
My mum wouldn’t except I have depression. I was thrown into further confusion not just in my academics but mental health too. WHATS GOING ON GOD?
I must’ve spontaneously mumbled something to do with pastor and my mum immediately set me up to see a pastor from church. I was thinking, “Did I just dig myself a deeper grave?”
But I was wrong. Seeing the pastor and his wife yesterday, a wave of clarity swept through my mind. Unlike the confusion the counsellor brought me. I was looking at my results as a failure. I felt like a failure, in everything, in life, I couldn’t even grab a bible. The depression comment made me fell more worthless.
The failure might not have been a failure. It could be a sign from God, a message he was trying to send for eons but I was so stubborn and wanted the goal. He had to make a louder statement to make me realize that maybe this path I’ve been walking wasn’t so right after all.
Like how he broke my legs to make me not walk properly again, because he wants to carry me this time. He wants me closer, he wants to carry me out of the valley and shadow of death. I needed Him so much this whole time but I was doing the opposite. Maybe I was doing this longer that I thought. I was doing this since my injury. What a long time to realize this mistake.
But it is never too late. I’m still on the path He wants me to be one. But this time, He is carrying me and I am close to Him.
He will never let go of me and I know and have faith that this destination is absolutely great.
photo taken while doing a deep thinking walk in the park in the chill – i was literally chillin like a baawss