Mold your dreams

Growing up in a middle class family in an Asian community, there was one dream that was instilled in me as a child: to be a doctor. My family and society molded my brain to believe that success came in the form of a white lab coat and a stethoscope around the neck. The job had the potential to give me both respect in society and the salary to have a good life. Being fairly good in science and mathematics uplifted this idea, and my family had a dream for me to become a doctor. The high school mathematics teacher would always help his daughter with problems, and the dining table in the kitchen would be used as a study table for the two daughters in the family more often than for dining purposes.

Even though this was a dream for me, I now realize that this was never my dream. I went to an English-medium school and grew up learning Nepali and English. I had a fascination with both of these languages, especially oratory skills. I loved how my seniors in school spoke eloquently on the stage. I volunteered to speak whenever there was a chance, and unknowingly, I was polishing my speaking skills. I remember my sister and I used to play a game of who can read a news story from the newspaper for the longest time without having to pause or making mistakes. Even though I could not understand their accent, I used to listen to the BBC News for hours. Those professional-looking newsreaders sitting behind what looked like mahogany desks and debating over world issues I could not understand were who I aspired to be.

The Eastern communities value obedience over independence, and the culture won over my personal desire. I went along with my family’s dream. Medicine courses are the most expensive field of study in Nepal, and I was among those thousands of students who prepared for the scholarships exam to get into medical school. However, I failed to get into the program. It was time to make changes in the plan. This time, I decided that I needed to study in a better, American university, and I realized that I wanted to become a cool female computer science student working in black and white screens to develop an app. I managed to convince my parents and flew halfway across the world.

After three semesters of attempting to understand computer languages, trying to work with Java and HTML, pushing and pulling through GitHub, I realized that my expectations and reality were different. My fourth semester, I changed my major to accounting. I am still exploring everything this field has to offer, but I am absolutely enjoying it. All of these past experiences taught me that I should not be afraid of taking risks. Even though we fear change, change is inevitable and is what enables you to understand yourself. Had I remained stubborn to get into medical school, I might have been lucky to get into the program, but I probably would not have been as happy as I am now.

It’s OK to change your career path if you are not content with it. The main thing is to be happy, and if you are happy, your best efforts will pay you well. There are real assets and liabilities in life other than the ones in a company’s balance sheet. You should learn to make a net income of happiness, surpassing the negative energies that bring a frown to your face. As for me, I might have changed my field of study, but I still have not given up on what my younger self wanted. I might not be reciting for a news channel, but I still enjoy my passion by contributing to the university newspaper.