It is very difficult to say to oneself, “
Self Mel, you made a ginormous mistake during a terrible economy and now you must gingerly extricate yourself from your mistake, if that is at all possible.”
The mistake was, of course, my decision to leave Fresh Air for medical school. I switched careers for several reasons: some good and some not-so-good.
Almost immediately, I realized I had made a mistake. I became terribly unhappy. I told myself it would get better. It didn’t. I told myself that the unhappiness was temporary. It wasn’t. I looked to my friends and family members in the medical field for advice. These folks entered school years before me and are currently much further along in the process. “If you don’t love this, you’re not going to make it, and even if you do make it, you’re not going to be happy,” they said. “You have to really want this.”
And over the past year, I’ve realized that this is not what I want. Which is a weird thing to realize. I thought that I wanted this for so long. I threw myself into it like there was no tomorrow. I studied my tush off. I got all A’s. I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this well.’ And I did, academically-speaking.
But this is not a good fit and I can’t see it changing into a good fit and I’ve watched myself change in ways that I don’t like to try to make it a good fit.
I’m not the type of person to give up on something once I start it. I struggle with the idea of failure, particularly public failure. I struggle with how people will perceive this decision. I struggle with why I did this in the first place, and the possible personal and professional ramifications.
But I also realize that there’s no point in constantly thinking “What If?” I can’t change the past year. It was a learning experience, it was something different. It taught me a lot about myself (and about biochemistry.)
What I can do is use the experience to make positive changes for the future.
So in May, when this semester is over, I’m going to go back to work. I’m not limiting myself to Philadelphia or the East Coast. I’m not limiting myself in any way, in fact.
I’m a humor writer and radio producer. I am good at the Internet, whatever that might mean. I’ve directed, written and edited national public radio shows under very, very tight deadlines. I love science and can explain tough concepts. I bake on Fridays. I like to bike. I’m a big fan of board games and hiking and living simply.
If you’d like to chat about any of these things, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter (@mkramer.) I’m happy to send along clips and references and press clippings and anything else you might like.