The Story of My Life

This is one of those days when I feel like crap. I’ve been here in Manila for 2 1/2 months and I still haven’t got a full-time, permanent job.

I quit med school last April. It’s a long story, but to make it short: Intelligence isn’t everything. I was beginning to get depressed. And I just don’t want to go back to being the negative, suicidal person that I was (I used to be like that during my last semester in college. I didn’t attempt suicide though; technically they’re just suicidal ideations–you’re just thinking that you want to die. Nonetheless, I still felt like shit).

Between April and May, my mom and I had the worst fight in our lives. We released years of hidden frustrations and anger at each other. I thought it was time to fight back. All my life I’ve listened and followed everything she said. I had her in mind when I picked nursing as my college degree. But I realized so much later that no matter how I tried, I will never love nursing. Taking up nursing was a wrong decision too. The demand for nursing abroad was at its peak during the first  half of the decade. Nursing became a popular course and nursing schools began popping out everywhere like mushrooms. When I was in fourth year high school, I still haven’t fully decided what profession I should pursue. I don’t like following the crowd; but at that time I did–and I chose nursing. I was lucky to get accepted into the premier nursing school in the country and I decided to enter, my mom and my not-so-reliable older sister in mind. The next 4 years of my life to summarize, were the best and the worst.

If I had the chance to go back and change something in my life, I’d like to go back to the time when I was in fourth year high school. I’d switch my first choice of campus to Diliman and my second choice to Manila. My first degree choice in Diliman was Business Administration with Accountancy; my second choice, Library and Information Science (during that time, there was a rumor that you should pick a non-quota degree course for your second choice to secure a slot in the campus you like). Choosing nursing as my degree course was a wrong move. Why? Here are my 2 main reasons:

First of all, I’m an introvert. This course needs extroverts and persons with sunshiny personalities both to help patients and personally cope with the stresses of the nursing profession (hands down to nurses!). I am not a person with a sunshiny personality. I tend to be a worrywart; I am sensitive and I easily get stressed.

Second, I didn’t really thought much about picking it–I actually booted out nursing as a future career when I was younger. I used to dream of being a scientist, an architect, a fashion designer–but never a nurse. I was only thinking of the salary I can get when I work abroad. That was a HUGE mistake (this is one reason why I get irked at parents or people who tell teenagers that they should take up nursing as their course so that “they could work abroad and have large salaries”. Adults, you are sooo teaching these teens the wrong way of thinking!)

When I finally realized I didn’t want nursing as my career, it was already too late. I can’t back out. It was few months before graduation. If you noticed earlier, I italicized the word “I”–it was to emphasize that I personally chose to take up nursing and was not coerced by my mom or anyone. I took on the “martyr” role. And that triggered my depression (although I wasn’t diagnosed clinically). I can’t get angry at anyone but myself.

But the fights last April and May made me realize another thing–about who and what I’ve become now–that my mom had a major part in shaping the present “me”.  And she had a hard time accepting that, until now.  She can’t accept the fact that she made me what I am today–a person with an inferiority complex–very insecure, with low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

My mom was one of the smartest in their brood of 6. She was a consistent honor student–she actually graduated as salutatorian during her college years. Because I was the daughter who had “inherited” her smarts, she began to have high expectations of me. She doesn’t even have to tell, but I can feel her pressure–the pressure of everyone around me to be like her, or even to surpass her. She used to compare me to her younger self or to my classmates, like I should dress like so-and-so, and I should be like so-and-so and many more. I did things to please her–not because I was happy doing those things. Come to think of it, I never really had any happy childhood memories. My older sister is 8 years older than me, so I grew up alone and most of the time in the company of older people.

Before I entered college, my mom expected me to graduate with Latin honors, just like her. And I didn’t. At 21, she already landed her first job. And I didn’t. I’m still jobless at 22. She was already frustrated with my older sister, and she was expecting me to do better than her. Lately I’ve been showing signs of becoming like my older sister (but not really the exact actions), signs of what mom might consider as “failure” –I impulsively decided to go to med school–> I quit med school after 1 year–> I’m still jobless after 2 1/2 months of stay in Manila.

And yes, I am worrying again. I am worrying a lot. I am worrying that my decision is another bad one. I am afraid to fail. I am afraid to fail my mom and other people’s expectations. But I don’t want to be that person who worries about what other people might think of me. I want to change that. I want to be an optimistic person once again, a person that sees failure as another lesson to learn in life. But I can’t be a bum forever. I have to get a job and live my life the way I want it to be. And God help me.

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