Geek Tendencies

I wanted to be a doctor.


In junior high school, my peers started talking about what they wanted to do with their lives.  I had no clue.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.*

But, for a couple years, I considered medicine.  I wanted to help.  So, I focused on sciences and math…and found I liked them.  And was even marginally good at them.

Just this easy.

Then I quickly realized I didn’t have the stick-to-it-iveness… the diligence… to be a doctor.  I just didn’t want to put in the work required.  Still, I hung in with taking advanced math and sciences through high school.

Going in to university, yet still unsure what to do with my life, I declared biology as my major… still clinging to those medical aspirations, perhaps?

Despite getting an “A” in my first lab and a high “B” for the course, I quickly realized that biology was not for me.  It was just too boring.

Second semester, I was undeclared for a major, but still took a heavy math and science course load.

Sophomore year, I decided to try chemistry, based mostly on having had advanced chem in high school which let me get an “A” in the basic college chem course — a matter of rote repetition?

Can I burn your bunsen, miss?

Things started out well that sophomore year.  But, soon, the demon named “Organic Chemistry”** quickly tempered that fast start.  I just couldn’t grasp the core concepts.  I could memorize okay, but without the basic understanding, couldn’t do the necessary extrapolations of free thinking solutions.  I ended up with a painful “C” in that course the first semester.

With a promise to myself to do better, I dug in to studying the second semester — I read.  I re-read.  I took copious notes.  I studied.

– – and was rewarded well for my efforts!!

…with a 32% on the first test…

Ahhhh!!!  I was devastated.  I had no more to give, yet had failed miserably.

I went to the professor for the course who gently suggested that chemistry may not be a proper career choice for me.  I balked…not because I didn’t know in my heart that he was right.  Rather, I said, “But, with a 32%, if I quit now I’ll get a ‘Withdraw Failing’ which will blast my GPA to hell.”

The professor offered, “I’ll make you a deal***.  If you promised to never set foot in the science building again, I’ll give you a ‘Withdraw Passing’.”


Not wanting to spend any more time than necessary at university, I looked around…what major could I finish in two years?

…and, thus, I graduated with a degree in business management, which has led me down my life’s path (so far).

But, in my heart still lurks the geek, yearning to experiment.

Oh, and I did sneak into the science building my senior year, taking an ‘easy’ astronomy course.

…hmmm…maybe I should have tried to be a physics major!

Still the geek


*And, in actuality?  Still don’t know…

**I’m sure any of you who took that course are, even now, cringing a bit at your experience with Organic.

***I got the feeling that he had made just such ‘a deal’ many times before over the years with students in similar circumstances as my own.

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9 Responses to “Geek Tendencies”

  1. Dennis the Vizsla Says:

    I don’t have a strong enough stomach to be a doctor. I’ll stick with computers, at least when you take them apart they don’t bleed (much)!

  2. Rob Says:

    I don’t recall ever professing a desire to be a doctor. I can recall my dad oft badgering me about becoming a lawyer (“It’s a license to steal!”) but I’ve resisted that as well.

    I took organic chem; industrial organic chem, actually, in my university program. Did you know that most people expect chemical engineers to know something about chemistry? Pfffft! That’s what the chemists are for, fer chrissakes!

    Becoming an engineer seems to require a strong preference for math and science. I can do it but it doesn’t really, um, turn my crank. Does that disqualify me for geek status? I guess being an engineer just complements my practical and pragmatic nature.

    If I could choose any career, what would I choose? Dunno. I can see 50 from where I’m at and I’m a little disturbed and chagrined at times that I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with my life. (You know, in the “make a difference” vein of things.) In the mean time, time passes…

  3. nursemyra Says:

    biology is boring?????? not on my blog 🙂

  4. daisyfae Says:

    you can still play doctor, right?

    i loved chemistry. organic, inorganic and yes, even the dreaded and much maligned physical chemistry… should open a meth lab when i retire, i think…. wanna help?

  5. thegnukid Says:

    dennis – me as a doctor would have much better luck figuring out human bodies than me as a computer engineer would figuring out computers. my hat’s off to you.

    rob – there you go adding in that “make a difference” variable. that REALLY complicates things. and, no, you don’t have to do the math and science to be a geek…but it does help.

    nursemyra – hell’s bells, nurse…i would’ve had to wait until graduate school to get to the juicy kind of biology courses. i preferred to do the practicums on that subject in private. and your blog is definitely post-graduate work in that area. [applauds]

    daisyfae – i’m in…am i going to be your mule or your lab tech? or both? and, yes, i do believe i have the skilled hands…and other body parts…to play doctor. c’mon over and i’ll show ya!

  6. hisqueen Says:

    I was well into my 30’s before I realized I wanted to be a nurse. Now I just need to find a school that isn’t over an hour away and I could finish all that up. Married a Dr. and am very in love with his geek mind. He fascinates me with what he knows about stuff that I hated like all sciences. It is the one part that I dread with nursing school. I have a short fuse and get easily frustrated if I don’t understand something right away. I think I will survive nursing school with his help.

  7. TBFKAMP Says:

    I wanted to be a vet. But maths and science were never really my thing. End of Std 7? I dropped both from my school curriculum. Still remember my dad shaking his head and saying, hear that? When I said what, he replied, all those doors closing career-wise. I pfffft’ed and said so what, I’ll go to journalism school and become a wordsmith.

  8. thegnukid Says:

    hisqueen – i’m glad you were able to find your life’s avocation, even if it was in your 30s. i’m sure you’ll do well, especially with the help of the doc.

    TBFKAMP – and how’s that career choice working out for you now? well, you can’t make yourself like the sciences. it either resonates with you or it doesn’t.

  9. Mitzi G Burger Says:

    My mother insisted I would remain adequate in the sciences because I so enjoyed the story of Gregor Mendel, a fellow who discovered genes by growing peas. The reason I liked that week in Year 8 science was because it inspired me to sketch a miniature graphic novel in my science book based on Mendel’s nurturing attentions towards his experimental garden. Ordered and objective as they were, I think I always found it impossible to take science very seriously.

    An honest an endearing tale of college indecision. Oh, those were the days: Gaelic or Art History? Feng Shui or Rennaissance Theatre?

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