The Greatest Success
Angel Rajendran, ’18 , Peabody College
I don’t know who first planted that seed in my head. The seed that whispered to me that success was a two-syllable title in front of my last name that made me a doctor, but I never really questioned it. My whole life, I heard my parents, teachers and friends tell me a career in the medical field was the best, if not the only, way to make an impact in the world. So naturally, by the time I started my first year of college, I thought I had my future all planned out for me: I was going to major in neuroscience, go to medical school, and eventually become a doctor. I was going to make an impact. I was going to change lives. At least, that was the plan.
A few months into the school year, I realized I was not as passionate about the medical field as other students around me. I felt drained by my science classes. I found no joy in what I was studying. As my first semester came to an end, I felt very little motivation to continue pursuing a career in medicine.
Still, I felt torn between two worlds. In one world, I continued on that seemingly perfect path for my life. I went to med school and became the first and only “Dr. Rajendran” in my family. I made my friends and family proud. In the other world, a world that seemed unattainable to me at the time, I pursued the things I was passionate about with little care for what others thought. Maybe I didn’t earn the most money, maybe I didn’t fulfill my parents’ dreams for me, but I was happy. I was doing what I loved.
After much back-and-forth, I finally made a decision and took a risk: Over Thanksgiving break, I told my parents that I no longer wanted to be on the pre-med track. And although I experienced mild teasing from my friends and definite pushback from my parents, for the first time in years, I felt like I was free to figure out who I was and where my true passions lied.
That being said, “following my passions” wasn’t as easy as it first seemed. For starters, I wasn’t even sure what I was passionate about. After dropping pre-med, I was in a completely new world. I no longer had that perfect plan for my life. In fact, I had no plan at all. The one thing I did know was that I wanted to work with kids. After volunteering at Children’s Medical Center Dallas all four summers of high school and working with children with disabilities in therapeutic recreation programs in my community, my passion for children was one thing I felt certain about amidst the confusion that was the rest of my life. And so, after months of exploring different classes and talking to several of my friends who were child studies and education majors, I decided to major in Special Education and minor in Child Development. At the end of my freshman year, I officially switched into Peabody.
I’m not sure who first planted that seed in my head, the seed that whispered that success came only from following a single path, but I’m happy to say that now I know that success is something much different. Success is the energy and motivation I feel when I go to a Special Education class. It’s when people ask me what my plans are for the future, and my eyes light up as I tell them I am going to be a teacher. Success is indeed a two-syllable word, because the greatest success is passion. Now, I feel confident that my decision to drop pre-med and pursue a career in my greatest passion was the best decision of my life.