What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?
I know that this prompt is a repeat but I will answer it, not for myself, but for my baby girl. We just recently spoke on the phone about regrets and the like and I asked her not to do what I did back in high school, give up on dreams of being in a science related profession because the science class was too hard, not to one's liking or just a plain chore.
I wanted her to understand that the regret that I feel is not how my life turned out but that I gave up on myself and I didn't persevere past the difficult class and take on another because I caved into the belief that I wasn't up to the challenge. I might have been a very good doctor in spite of having difficulty with chemistry or organic chemistry, but we will never know. Why? I gave up and threw in the towel at the beginning, without even giving physics a chance. Chemistry gave me a rough go for the first time and I convinced myself that I didn't have a head for science, all this decision making at the ripe old age of 16. I had needed better guidance.
I also tried to stress to my baby girl that there doesn't exist a doctor or a marine biologist who did cartwheels on the way to chemistry class or organic chemistry class, but they did hang in there and keep an eye on the prize; a career in medicine or working with marine life.
I am hoping that some of what I said took root somewhere in her brain because I would hate it if 10 or 15 years down the road, she looks back and says "what if I had hung in there, what would my life be?" Because honestly, there is no time like when you are young, marriage free and child free to do all of the studies for your prospective career, especially if you have had some type of career concerning animal care on your mind since you were a young girl.
I hope that she knows that despite the advice and the suggestions, we support her and always have her interests and her happiness on our minds and in our hearts.
I identify with your post. While I was told I could be anything I wanted (by my parents) there was little to no guidance from them, the school or others. I ignored the sciences in college (round 1) only to find how incredibly passionate I was about them all along. I am thankful to see programs that mentor young women – Scientiesta, STEM, – as well as many less formal organizations.
My organic professor, new to the school with her Ph.D. told our small class “I promise that I will not only have you understanding organic chemistry, I will have you enjoying it.” Our class was an upper level undergrad course, small, around ten people in it, all pre-med, pre-dental, vs the lower level course organic with larger class sizes (30ish, mostly nursing majors.) We spent a lot of time on the course but all of us loved it – from the young undergrads to several of us “non-traditional” students back for more. What a difference to have an enthusiastic, available mentor in a difficult subject!
That is exactly what I had in mind, proper guidance and some mentoring along the way. I’m glad that you found it during your journey. It will be interesting to see my daughter’s reaction to my post, if there is one. 🙂
Yes, I found it because I learned to look for it and ask for it. As an adult.
Dr. L was an example that popped into my mind. I have to encourage my kids, HS and college, to seek out mentors, advice, stick with the tough stuff…
I am trying to encourage it in my daughter and to reinforce what I have always tried to instill in her. I just hope that being 19 she doesn’t blow it off, thinking that she knows best. Being a parent is hard at times. It helps to talk about it.
🙂 I understand. My oldest is graduating this Dec and will not turn 21 until May. And he financed most of his degree with scholarship and grants – and jobs – so considers himself an adult without the need for parental input. (He told me this when he turned 18.) I learned to watch him make his own decisions, often mistakes – and suffer the consequences. But that is part of the growth and transition from teen years to adulthood.
We don’t always agree. When he needs to discuss something – I try to provide a sounding board, weigh the pros and cons. And support his decision even if I don’t agree. I watched him start college at 17, make some big mistakes, learned from them, make some great friends, become a leader in his area of study -all in the course of 3 years.
A lot of growing happens in those college years – moving to the “pro” “con” list or/and having them find a mentor on campus were invaluable with my son.
Now the “Masterpiece” is a HS senior, never learns from mistakes, hasn’t applied to a college yet, and refuses to learn to drive. Complete opposite of her brother. 🙂 She is at home with me. (And she is exactly the same as her identical twin who grew up with another family several states away.)
Isn’t it extraordinary how we can make babies, rear them in similar ways and still get such different results. My daughter is the baby, my son is going to be 22, he has graduated but he wants to do music so he is content with his job at McDonald’s because that gives him the freedom to do what he needs with his band. I do a lot of deep breathing, long walks and writing. I just want them both to be happy and excited for their futures. Deep breathing works wonders.
The Laughing Housewife said:
What a good mother you are!
Oh Tilly, you have the kindest words that do me the biggest wonders. I so needed to hear that. xoxo
The Laughing Housewife said:
I think you are such a wonderful person, Laurie – and so wise.
That means a lot coming from you Jules, you are such a good friend. 🙂
A young relative was asking me about how to cope with hard-but-useful subjects today. I’m not sure I gave her the right advice – but I told her I wasn’t sure about it. I think that there is no point persevering if it makes your life miserable. But maybe there is, if you can get through it.
When I got stuck academically – it only happened once – it was in “Logic and Metaphysics” class where I scored 0%! Disaster.
I got a flatmate to help me pass, so I could drop the subject then move on!
This subject has resonated with a lot of people. I don’t have the answers, I just wanted to share my experience so that she would hopefully take a step back and think before acting to hastily. Parenting is hard, sigh.