For the past few months, I knew that I would be starting law school next year.
But today, the nervous feeling of starting something new has finally started to kick in. And along with it, a feeling of nostalgia, knowing that the way my life has been for the past two years, will no longer be.
These years have been characterized by waiting. Waiting for admissions committees to assess my candidature and deliver their verdict.
This waiting is difficult. Being rejected after long periods of waiting is painful. Transitioning from one path to another is heartbreaking.
But all these things are important, I think, for personal development.
This year, I applied to medical school and law school after being rejected from medical school twice before – once in my fourth year of undergrad and again last year.
Applying to law was heartbreaking because it felt like a step away from medicine, the path that I thought I was destined for. But I needed a backup.
Now, having been accepted to both programs, I recognize that this painful step was necessary.
It provided me with the opportunity to choose where I want to go as opposed to being forced down a path that I may not have been entirely comfortable with.
Moreover, this period of waiting, a period in which my clocks moved more slowly, has taught me not to fear slowness as I once did in the past. A life that isn’t fast paced is a life that has more time for self-awareness, family, friends, creativity, health and well-being.
But while it isn’t as obviously draining as a fast-paced life, it is not without difficulty.
A slower paced life, at least in a Western context, is typically a more independent life. This can be stressful if, like me, you take comfort in being amongst a cohort of peers.
There are also traps. It is easier to fall into lazy habits and boredom. Unlike a fast-paced life that is often largely benchmarked by external deadlines and incentives, a slow life is typically without such pressures. And therefore, to be fulfilled, a person must be prepared to trial and err as they create meaningful systems to govern their day-to-day.
If you haven’t had such as phase in your life, you may worry that you will never be able to create such systems, that you won’t be able to stick to anything, much like I did. But while it is difficult at first, I promise you that it is achievable.
Slowing down forces you to figure out the things that you like doing for their own sake. It is hard to know what these things are if you have never searched for them before.
For me, I learned that I really enjoy listening to people’s stories, their opinions, and empathizing with them if they are going through a hard time. I also enjoy reading, writing, reflecting, philosophizing, and logically reasoning through issues. I also love the sound of my own voice.
These are very simple realizations. Moreover, I have always known these things to be true about myself. But slowing down allowed me to recognize these things altogether, rather than bit-by-bit.
And so, when the time to choose between medicine and law came, I knew that I would be happy going along either path and that I would be a competent professional in either sphere.
But I also recognized that law would be a better fit, at least at this point in time, all things considered.
Thank you so much for your support. Your readership means more to me than you know.
Please read the following:
My friend Aloysius Wong is the Donaldson Scholar at the CBC. It's a really big deal. His writing is great.