Written by: Brandon Imp
Oh man! Remember in eighth grade algebra when variables were introduced? The students’ minds were blown away. Unknown quantities and figures, oh my! Thankfully I was a smart, obedient student which led to an easy A for the class (don’t worry, Calculus 2 kicked my butt four years later). Anyway, the unknown variables! I laughed at them, owned them, and moved on. There was always a correct answer, and there was always a set of rules to follow to arrive at the answer.
If only life was still that simple.
There have been a billion (plus some) unknown variables since Algebra, with most of them leading to the wrong answer. And honestly, getting the wrong answer is frustrating! When did this intelligent, good-natured kid start living the seriously goal-hindered life? The first half of college.
College was rough, but worth every second. Sophomore year sucked! I was told my life could be one of two things: do research or be a doctor. So, I pursued research. I got the research jobs, scholarships, and internships that every young scholar dreams of. However, I could not get past the question, “So what?” The question negatively affected my determination and curiosity. Frustrated, I spent a semester in Rome. One morning (while living in Rome) I woke up, relieved, and said out loud, “Yeah, I’ll be a doctor.” That was that, and life made sense again.
The intelligent, good-natured kid began living again. I had faced tons of variables, instigators, limitations, and excitations, but none of them mattered. None of them told me to be a doctor; it just, happened. My decision did not follow some formulaic rationality. I listened to my dreams, nature, and intuition, coming to the conclusion that medical school was the correct answer.
So, what’s the point of this story? When someone asks, “Why would you EVER hike the AT,” I respond, “Because it’s the correct answer for me.” Forget the justification and rationale! This is it, and I trust myself. If you need to ask again, you should find your Rome and get reacquainted.