September 16th, 2019

If you are coming here to look for answers on why to enter the world of science, then I am afraid this will disappoint you.

The truth is, as a rising junior pursuing a bachelor degree in biomolecular science, I don’t have a definite answer for you either.

As if being a first-generation college student is not hard enough, I am a woman in an engineering school. Now, I am not talking about the struggle of how women are being outnumbered by men in the field of STEM because I can see this slowly changing around me. I am talking about being a woman pursuing a STEM degree in my family. My sister, who is 10 years older than me and the first one to attend college, pursued a business degree like many of my other female cousins. Growing up, I have always looked up to my sister, and often followed her examples. Entering high school, I had my future all planned out. I decided to major in accounting when I applied to college. Why? The answer is quite simple: It is easy to find a job and make decent money; it was a common major for women to pursue; and I had always been pretty good at math (at least in high school). Having planned everything out, I shocked not only my parents but myself as well when I told them I wanted to pursue biomolecular science. When they asked me why, I couldn’t come up with an answer. Their doubt and uncertainty in my decision added on to my uncertainty of whether or not I chose the right path.

Two years into college, I still can not tell you for sure if science is the best field for me to pursue. But I can tell you for sure that I do not regret my decision. Attending so many lectures and talks from great professors whose research have astonishing results,  opened new doors to what science can lead to and can help achieve. Yes, there can be failed experiments, and it may be years and years of frustration before achieving a desired result or breakthrough. Maybe it is this unpredictability that draws me towards science. How great would one feel when the many failed experiments and long hours in the lab finally lead to something?

Maybe it is this feeling of pride that I am looking forward to. This surge of pride when suddenly all my years of challenges and struggle paved the way towards discoveries that people would appreciate. At the end of many talks, I kept thinking to myself, how amazing it would be to actually be the one standing on the stage to talk about my achievements and the chance to inspire others.

Although I have such aspirations, when I look around me to see what my peers have accomplished, I feel I still have a long way to go. I don’t have a 4.0 GPA; I am not the brightest of my class; and I have never been exposed to research (until the Summer Research Program that offered me an opportunity to gain insight in research through Professor Jin Montclare’s Lab) and I have absolutely no idea where to start. It was then that I came across Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” where one of his many lessons still lingered in my head. “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something”. I have a brick wall in front of me right now. My brick wall is the sense of uncertainty and doubt I have in myself. While it may appear challenging right now, I know that one day I will be able to break through and prove to myself how badly I have wanted it all along.

If there is only one thing I want you to get out from this blog, it is that sometimes it is okay to be unsure and have questions on what you are passionate about and what you really want to do. This just adds on to the excitement and appreciation when you finally find out what you want to do. My ultimate request to you: Don’t get intimidated by how hard or how impossible something might be, maybe years later you would be on the stage with an audience applauding at your achievements. Instead of pursuing a career that may seem the easy way out, chase after a career you imagine you would be happy in, and most importantly, the career you do not regret even if it intimidates you at this moment.

This blog is mostly my effort to remind myself that I still have my brick wall to break and answers to seek. Is science what I really badly want? Maybe you could ask me 10 years later and see whether I still have this brick wall in front of me.

_Bonnie Lin (@BonnieL17279208)


Works Cited:

Kabakou, Maksim. Science Concept: Painted Red Flask icon on Black Brick wall background

with Hand Drawn Science Icons” Issue ID 112170700.


Pausch, Randy, and Jeffrey Zaslow. The Last Lecture.Hachette Books, 2018