Life Plans…

My life was so uncertain. More than $30,000 in student loan debt, several years of my life gone, and I still had no idea exactly what I wanted to do with my now almost finished biology degree. I thought about moving on to veterinary school at one time, but my recent physical difficulties made that impossible. My friend, Dawne, and I had discussed this topic quite a bit over the last year. She was almost as confused as I was. I felt like an imposter in the world of academia. How could someone in her 40s, feel so much like a scared lost little girl?

It was Thursday and that meant Conservation Medicine class, my favorite of the semester. The bus had run late, and I worried for my future as I rushed to class. Suzanne, the instructor, was already there, in the front of the classroom, waiting to begin our discussion on the new book we had just begun to read, Spillover. The chairs in the classroom were arranged in a kind of oval, making discussion easy even with so many students. The reading assigned for the day had been about Ebola, and with all the chatter in the room it was obvious we had all enjoyed it.

“Before we begin today,” Suzanne began, “I thought it would be good to talk a little bit about David Quammen. The author of this book is a science writer…”

The room instantly became a little brighter than normal, like a hidden never before used light switch had been flicked on somewhere. I had no idea this career path even existed, and my head was spinning at the new possibilities before me.

“This type of writer has to be able to think with both sides of his or her brain, so to speak,” I barely heard Suzanne continue. “They have to be analytical and creative at the same time, something not possible for most people.”

As the discussion moved on around me, my thoughts were about what this new information might mean for me. Maybe my education would not be a waste after all

©2016 Nancy Lehmann

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