I'm a person who likes plans. Planning is my life. I love to do it, and I'm (no longer) ashamed to admit it. In my free time, nothing makes me happier than when I write out what I'll do for the next week, and it'll spiral into how I want my life to turn out. In a weird way it puts me at ease. It gives me hope for the future. But I used to say that I’m more "go-with-the-flow" since I'm a pretty laid-back person, and because being spontaneous is what all the cool people do. Right?
Well turns out, even us voracious planners can do something...unpredictable. I'm a transfer student, and let me tell you, that was not part of the plan.
The plan was to get into college (only once), become a doctor, have a family, and live happily ever after. Obviously. And that plan started out cleanly with two doctor parents, a med student sister, 4 years at a science high school, and the next 7 years in an accelerated BS/MD program. My initials are even M.D. My life was planned for this.
Everything on paper made sense. I was getting the grades, I was in the right program, and I was going into the city and having "fun." My life was all tied up in a little bow, ready to be on its way. But the second I stepped on the campus, I had this unsettling feeling of something not being right. Every day I spent on that campus felt wrong. Intrinsically wrong. I wasn’t ready for my life to be wrapped up and sent off.
So I applied to transfer, and throughout the entire process, every rational voice in my head told me to stop. But the little tiny voice (in my gut?) told me to just try. Just try.
Eventually I did choose Tufts, but that in and of itself was a blind leap. I never attended an info session, I never did a campus tour, I never met a Tufts student. I didn't know anything about it. And I applied. And of my 4 options, the other three of which I did extensive research and overnight visits, I chose Tufts. Everyone thought I was a crazy person who lost her mind. But the 20 minutes I spent on this campus nearly three years ago, just wandering around, felt right. And there's nothing else I could say to describe it. The problem with following your gut is that you can’t really explain it to anyone else, but when something feels right, it just feels right.
The summer before coming here was also not planned. When everyone was applying for internships, jobs, and research during the school year, I had no idea where I'd even be the next year. Whether I'd get in, whether I'd have the guts to go, whether I'd have the guts to stay.
It's all about the gut.
I lounged around, wondering if I'd made the wrong decision. A lot of people gave me skeptical looks that contradicted their sanguine good luck statements. It was the first decision I ever made as an adult, the first one that was completely independent, the first one my parents didn't support. It was the first one that was completely not part of the plan. I had a lot riding on this decision, and I just hoped my gut knew what it was doing.
Planning is definitely my life, but this gut instinct is very, very powerful. It's the end all be all. Most of the time, your gut doesn't care enough with your daily decisions in life. But if your gut is really speaking up, learn to trust it. Even if you have trust issues. I can't promise that it will always tell you the smartest thing to do, but it just might show you what you really need when you don't even realize it. Because that seemingly dumb decision has quite possibly been the best decision of my life (so far).