by Ma. Lorainne Reyes
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” she said.
“I want to become a doctor,” I said.
It seemed so easy and simple for my 5-year old self– you just have to be obedient, finish school, attend college, don’t do drugs, don’t marry young, graduate, and you will become a doctor in no time. And that’s how dreams were supposed to be, right? Easy and simple– as if everything is possible, and your family, your friends, your priorities, your status in life, money, and the lack thereof, would never be an issue.
I didn’t understand, then, what dreams are for. Are they really necessary? Should they dictate your future? Is it fixed? Should you really know at a certain age what you want to be when you grow up? When I tell one person I want to become a doctor, should I be consistent and tell the others the very same thing?
Well, it seems that I am in big trouble.
When I was much younger, I have very different sets of dreams. I wanted to be a cashier in the mall because I liked handling money. I wanted to work in the city hall because I like papers and stamps. And then I grew up a little, and then I realized I wanted to become a doctor.
And then I reached college and realized I can be so many things. I want to become a researcher, a marine biologist, and be a professional scuba diver. I want to live in the mountains and discover new species. I want to leave the city and go to rural areas and teach children who can’t afford an education. I want to become a pilot; I want to be a skydiver and a parachutist. I want to be a detective, and fact checker. I want to be a DJ; I want to host events. I want to be a theater actress. I want to write a book, and direct an indie film. I want to be a librarian; I want to own a bookstore and a cafe. I want to work in an orphanage; I want to be an ambassador. I want to be a housewife and grow a garden; I want to be a hands-on mom. I want to be a teacher. I want to be rich and sponsor different organizations with different causes. I want to be a journalist and make documentaries. I want to travel the world and write about it– I want to be so many things.
The struggle of a Twenty-something
I am now 22 years old and when I get asked what I want to be or what my plans for the future are, becoming a doctor is still on top of my list. But now, I stop to think – do I really want to become one?
I am currently working as a Medical Representative; I stalk doctors and sell drugs for a living. 70% of my 24-hrs are spent in hospitals and clinics. I am dealing with “what I want to become”– doctors. I see what they do every day. And fortunately, I became friends with some of them; I learned how they do it. I hear them talk about their jobs, their schedules, what is really going on in the operating room, what’s going on before and after they see a patient; I see the “behind the scenes”.
They tell stories of how they missed an event or celebration or skip sleep and meals because of an emergency call. I pretty much see what it feels like to become a doctor. Not to mention that I also have friends who are currently taking up Medicine, or finishing their internship, or doing their residency. It’s like a peek on what is waiting for me if I pursue my childhood dream.
With all the doctors (and soon to be doctors) I’ve dealt with, they all have something in common– passion.
Becoming a doctor is not just a job that you want to have in the future. It’s a craft. It’s a never-ending dedication. It’s a lifetime commitment.
You surely don’t want to become a doctor just because you want to be rich, or you just want to have those two letters after your name. And I guess that’s pretty much the same with whatever dreams you have—you must have the passion to serve a purpose and not for anything else.
Most people I converse with always ask me when I will be entering med school. “You’re a few years late already,” some would even comment. Am I? Do dreams and ambitions really have a deadline?
Dreams don’t expire
Recently, I had the chance to read a true to life story from Reader’s Digest, a book that was given to me as a birthday present by a very dear friend and collaborator, no less than Ingrid, who I started this website with.
The story narrates the life of Dr. Dorothy Greenbaum, entitled “Lovestrong: A Woman Doctor’s Story of Marriage and Medicine“. She spent years as an English teacher, became a wife, and a mother. And while she’s taking her maternity leave, the books of poetry she used as a teacher were replaced by paperbacks on child birth, child care, and parenthood. After a while, she realized that she no longer wanted to teach.
“I want to be a doctor,” she told her husband one evening, as she tried to hold back her tears. She added how lucky she was and how much she loved her family but that she wanted to pursue medicine. “I know becoming a doctor isn’t easy, but if I don’t at least try, I’ll always have regrets,” she said.
She pursued medicine and became a doctor at 36.
This actually also reveals what women have to go through when they are forced to choose between a career and a family. But it doesn’t mean that just because Dr. Dorothy is a woman, married, and that she was supposed to have ‘chosen a path’ a long time ago, that she has to become stationary and stop reaching for what she has come to realize as her true desire.
A dreamer at 22
“I want to know my purpose before anything else,” I said.
If you’ll ask me if I still want to be a doctor, I will say ‘Yes!’ in a heartbeat. But I still want to be a lot of things. I want to take my time and open as many doors as possible and start from there. I want to be as many as I can be. And not until I am ready to give up the rest will you see me in a white uniform.
Until then. I will be who I want to be, as I learn my purpose.
Lorainne is born and raised in Manila, Philippines.
She earned her degree in Biology at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and is currently working as a Medical representative in a pharmaceutical company.
Lorainne is doing her best to learn more about herself and discover all her possibilities.