May 16th, 2020:
Having all this extra time to think is really bringing up memories and allowing me to connect dots.
When I was little, I changed my dream career every few months, but the one thing that stayed constant was that my “dream job” always felt like a given. It never felt out of reach and that’s thanks to a very pivotal moment when I was 3 or 4 years old when I asked my dad if I could be an astronaut. I had a feeling it may have been a stupid idea that was gonna get shot down, but he said, “You can do anything you want to do as long as you set your mind to it.”
GIF courtesy of giphy.com
A few years later, I toured The Land in Epcot and came back home wanting to be an aquaculturist. It’s a pretty cool job. If I recall correctly, it’s like agriculture…but with water and hydroponics.
Then, I wanted to design roller coasters as an Imagineer for Disney World.
THEN, I went through the phase where I realized the cheese in Kraft Mac & Cheese might not be real (allegedly) and that there’s a job to make it taste real (allegedly)…the same type of job that makes candies taste like fruit. Thus, my dream to become a chemical engineer was born!
In middle school, I was excited to dissect the frog (before I realized it’s kinda inhumane), but was disappointed when we dissected a worm and a fish instead.
All the while, I was conducting at-home science experiments with my microscope, slides, Petri dish and household items to occupy my time and better understand the world around me.
If you’re sensing a science trend, same.
But, then, entering high school, I suddenly didn’t wanna do any of those things anymore. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but a lot changed in those 4 years.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when I learned about the dream gap. According to The Barbie Dream Gap Project, “Research shows that starting at age 5, many girls develop self-limiting beliefs and begin to think they’re not as smart and capable as boys. They stop believing their gender can do or be anything.”
It also wasn’t until a few years ago when I finally read “The Confidence Code”, a book my mom recommended I read while I was still in high school. It mentioned something that stuck with me. Research shows that, in general, girls tend to absorb blame while boys tend to deflect it. An example they used in the book is receiving a bad grade on an exam. While many boys might think, “That was a tough exam or this is a tough class or even this isn’t a very good teacher”, many girls will think, “I’m not good at this.”
The reason this example stuck with me the most is because it happened to me and it’s the main reason I decided I wasn’t good at science. 10th-grade chemistry. If you were in that class with me, you know what I mean. I was an A & B student, not valedictorian or even salutatorian material, but national honor society and honor roll material. That being said, 10th-grade chemistry was the first class I genuinely was afraid I might not pass. Spoiler alert: I did pass it, but as a result of how stressful it was, the only thing I didn’t consider when thinking about what I would study in college was pure science.
It’s unfortunate because if I had realized these things sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have shut that side of myself out so early. But, I’m happy I realized it eventually because there’s still so much room to grow and continue to learn. ❤️
Can you relate to this? Let me know in the comments! 🙂