Like many others, my goals for the future have changed significantly in the last few years.
I started off my college search, like so many others, planning to someday go on to medical school and become a doctor. In fact, I first learned about my major, biomedical engineering, while searching for potential, nontraditional premed majors. (Guess I was too hipster for straight-up bio?)
In my first year of college, I quickly realized that I probably wasn’t cut out to be a doctor. The competition felt too cutthroat, the memorization of minuscule facts and details ate away at my enjoyment, and, above all, I learned more about myself and knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the hours and the stress and the situations that doctors have to face on a daily basis.
After the initial panic, it eventually occurred to me that not wanting to be a doctor is actually okay. Not everyone can be doctors, which is definitely a good thing, and I wouldn’t want to dedicate the next few years of my life, as well as several thousand extra dollars, to doing something that I wasn’t one-hundred percent committed to. Other people can be doctors, and that’s okay too… Having my parents’ blessing to continue with engineering definitely helped also, especially when I was bracing myself for their disappointment and pushes to transfer out of BU.
But if I didn’t want to be a doctor, then what would I be? My classes at BU opened my eyes to the wonders of engineering and invention, something that I was never exposed to beforehand, and the world of medical devices seemed particularly fascinating. All of the life saving without any of the human contact! Freshman me was ecstatic that I had finally found a direction in life. Full steam ahead!
In my second year of college, I stumbled a lot academically (and physically, now that I think about it) and received many rude awakenings that challenged my character. Weekly problem sets that took several hours to complete on top of weekly lab exercises that took several more hours on top of lectures so dry and complicated that I could barely stay awake but had to somehow keep my eyes open in order to do the rest of the work…
Additionally, people started to question my newfound direction. “Medical devices? That’s a huge field! Do you know what kind you want to make? Apps? Hardware? Software? Prosthetics?” The question took me by surprise, and I couldn’t exactly say the first thing that came to mind (“Err… whatever I can get, I guess.”). Researching potential companies and projects just expanded the field even more, and suddenly I was lost again.
In my third year of college, I took a class on device design as well as another on business and entrepreneurship. The former class introduced different types of devices, the problems that designers face, even the red tape that comes with making something that could potentially kill a customer. The latter talked more about how to sell a product: how to determine where a product should fit into the market, how to get customers interested in it, how to pay for it, how to determine how much you should pay for it…
I was hooked. There had been no other class like this in my engineering curriculum so far, so I ate up every second of it. You can probably tell where my attention has since focused. Maybe I still want to be involved in devices, but maybe I don’t want to be the one physically sitting at a bench, soldering wires and building prototypes. Maybe I want to be the one selling them, finding and talking to clients, and managing the rest of the team.
Looking back on it now, who knows? I could very well switch again. However, I’ve taken the time to research about the field and decided that the best way to figure out if it’s the right path for me is to go out and participate in the “entrepreneurship scene.”