What’s in a Name?

Choosing a major is almost like choosing a name for a child. You feel the pressure of having to get it right the first go around. It may keep you up thinking at night. You need to consider every angle of the name. What does the name mean? What is it associated with? What do others think about it?

Of course, there’s always room to change it after you’ve picked one, but you have to get used to the new name rolling off your tongue. But here’s the beauty behind changing your name: If it fits you better, it’s a better name for you.

I always knew I wanted to go into the science field. What instinct drove me toward science? I’m honestly not sure. As cliché as it may sound, it really was a case of “follow what your gut tells you.” It may be because of my positive experiences in science fairs in elementary school or the fact that my family had a long history in the medical field. Regardless, I’ve always found biological and life sciences interesting; it’s a growing and dynamic field and I was excited to jump in and contribute to a growing movement.

When I applied to college, this is where I learned how nuanced “biological sciences” were. I first applied as a Biochemistry major, thinking this was the field for me. Upon realizing the plethora of biophysical science needed, I realized quickly this technical science wasn’t me. I was ready to jump ship, but the new question was: Which ship do I jump to?

One of the best pieces of advice I got coming into college was to take classes outside of my intended interests to explore what’s out there. Be adventurous with college courses. Someone is paying a lot for you to learn something, so might as well learn something completely new while you’re at it. When I was a freshman I took a diseases seminar class, outside of the lower division requirements, with an immunology professor and absolutely enjoyed it. I even got the experience to have lunch and a casual conversation with this professor! Somewhere during that course, there was a turning point that lit my passion for the subject matter.

And that’s how I got to where I am today. Although I’m still undeclared, I’m ready to put my foot down and begin down a path. Now that I’ve begun to settle on a name, the new question arises of how this name suits me. As an intended molecular and cell biology (immunology emphasis) major, I’m excited to be at the forefront of discovery and hopefully make a contribution to the growing discovery research.

But one thing about this name, being a “hard core science” major doesn’t make you a pre-medical student. The ‘hard core science’ name always gets associated with future medical students, just as the ‘Kardashian’ name gets associated with all that family business. Although I’m constantly surrounded by the future’s physicians, surgeons, pediatricians, that’s not my ultimate end goal. I want to pursue graduate school after graduation, an idea that is not considered or spoken about much between a lot of the people I see daily in my classes.

I understand that science or being pre-med is not everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone has a right to pursue what they want. As long as you’re passionate and motivated by your interest, there is always room in the world for you.

Be adventurous. Explore. Follow your passion. Make a name for yourself.

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