Continuing the Path: Highways and Byways

Do you remember when girls were overtly discouraged from choosing careers in science? I never thought it was happening to me. I just thought I was bad at science — struggling with poor grades in high school chemistry (completely forgetting I had just completed biology with the highest grade in the class!). And if I couldn’t “do science,” I couldn’t be a doctor. How many of you had an experience like that?

How many of you, as I did, returned many years later to something that you loved, or perhaps went on a different path completely? Many of us discovered eventually that we could do science, or whatever it was we had been told we were no good at. What was it for you? For me, I was shocked, when, after graduating from UC Berkeley in anthropology, and then living for a year in an anarchist collective (getting work typing manuscripts for professors), I figured out that I wanted to be a doctor, after all. Two years of pre-med science and four years of medical school later, I was deliriously happy to graduate from medical school. I was a doctor.

I’d appreciate comments with your experiences. …

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