On November 21st, 2008 I printed out Brian's "The Age of Miracles" post and put it up in my office at work. (http://mgoblog.com/content/age-miracles) When I first read it it really struck a chord with me, and from time to time when things get crazy and nothing makes sense I re-read it and it makes me feel better.
I know this is completely off topic, but you guys have always been helpful and I'm kind of in need of objective advice from people who don't know me personally. I haven't told a lot of my friends about this (or any of my family) because I'm not entirely sure what to do and am terrified that things won't work out. (This is obviously a consequence of the off-season--stupid self-introspection!)
I'm 26 and graduated from Michigan in 2006 with a BA in Poli Sci. I always wanted to ultimately pursue policy, but after an health policy internship in DC decided I wanted to become a physician who was knowledgeable enough to truly shape health policy. I completed the pre-med requirements and after I graduated began working at a health disparities research center in Detroit. I started out as an unpaid intern and have worked my way up to a really well-paying, high-level research position (particularly given my relative (lack of) experience/clinical degree.) About a year ago I was accepted into a Masters in Physiology program with the option to get a PhD. I work for a university and thus am getting free tuition as well.
The original plan was to earn the Masters, get a solid science foundation and apply to med school. To make a long story short, my interest in medicine has always been from an urban/advocacy for the underserved perspective. It's kind of been building for a while, but I realized I really don't like what I'm doing. I don't want to be a physician, I want to affect policy head-on. My commitment is still to the underserved and always will be, but I've decided that I want to go to law school. This is terrifying because I'm 26 and feel like I'm really old (even though everyone tells me I'm not); I always thought I'd have much more accomplished in my life by age 26 than I do.
I registered for an LSAT prep course that begins in June and am taking this semester off from Physiology classes to re-compartmentalize and study for the October LSAT. I still haven't told anyone at work, including the amazing mentors (physicians) I've grown really close to who everyday tell me what an amazing physician I'll be.
There's a better than even chance that because I want to pursue advocacy work, I'll never, ever make close to the money I'm making now and will then also be contending with paying student loans from law school. Money has never, ever been important to me, but I'm kind of all heart and don't really think these kinds of things through as much as I probably should.
I guess ultimately my question is this: have you ever had to reconcile what you really think you would be awesome at and what you really love with a much more stable, more concrete option? I'm an overly-optimistic and hopeful person in general so I'm afraid I'm ignoring logic when I keep telling myself things will work out. Sorry this is so long--I appreciate all of your help in advance.
Oh, and Brian's "The Age of Miracles" post is now in my LSAT prep book. In some weird way it helps me keep perspective and gives me hope in this super scary, uncertain time.