Do what you love.

By: Mehak Dureja, SDSU Chapter Member

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As students involved in STEM, our time is occupied by every science class in the book on top of various other extracurricular activities that pad our resumes. Consequently, we often forget that there are certain joys in our lives that cannot be obtained by just studying organic chemistry all day or working countless hours in the lab.

My first year of college I was randomly assigned to a residential community called, “Women and Gender Equity.” When I entered college, I was only knowledgeable in the male-centered history we were all taught throughout middle and high school—but that was about to change. Being placed in this community was a blessing in disguise because I ended up absolutely falling in love with Women’s studies. As a Biology major on the pre-med track, I rarely have the opportunity to take classes outside the field of STEM. In the midst of all the chaos as a first year STEM major, women’s studies became my safe haven. Everyone had always emphasized the idea of using college as an opportunity to gain additional knowledge beyond my career path. This message lead me to declare a women’s studies minor with confidence. We often forget it is possible for us to love STEM while also being able to become more educated or skilled in other aspects of our lives such as sports or other fields of study.

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During that first semester I began to lose the fire to continue my journey in STEM. Frankly, I hated it. I hated struggling in my classes and constantly feeling like I was not cut out for my dream of becoming a physician. Second semester I enrolled in a Women’s studies class with Professor Enderle. This course reignited my passion for the medical field and gave me the courage to stay on this path. Professor Enderle was a nurse in the army, and one day my interest in trauma surgery came up in conversation. She proceeded to ask me more about my future and the exchange left me hopeful. She introduced me to the idea of serving as a trauma surgeon and possibly speaking to recruiters. I have to say, however, I was a little weary of this idea at first. 

Through WSS I started shadowing an orthopedic surgeon who, coincidently, was in the navy. I was inspired by his work and the experiences he shared with me. I began to express more interest to my professor and she delightedly aided me in finding resources and opportunities to work towards my new goal. Although women’s studies and biology seem far from relation, both have given me a sense of satisfaction. I had always looked at the world through cynical eyes and was skeptical of people’s advice to “do what you love and truly enjoy.” My viewpoint since changed upon adding a women’s studies minor. I found a haven that I had longed for and curated a new vision for my future. Finally figuring out and pursuing what I truly love and enjoy was the best thing that could have happened to me.