Sunday, September 6, 2009

Human potential and chaotic degree paths

Sometimes I think it would be nice to have a mind that didn't starve for information with such a frantic need. I have been up for an hour, wide awake in bed, trying to figure out whether melanin is protective of autoimmune function or whether the autoimmune system helps to steer complexion within a range. This isn't a joke. I can't even describe all of the physiological response I feel (stomach flurry, buzzing mind) when I think about all the things I want to know and learn.

I really ought to be sleeping.

In a way, it would be nice to just run a Menlo Park of SB's crazy biological research theories, and hire people to run off and study my questions. But then, what would be the fun of that? But I wonder at what part of my degree I'll be able to create the questions/answers instead of just memorizing the answers others have found. It's why med school has zero interest to me. I crave being in the creation and research of it, not the delivery.

When people ask me what I do, and I say I teach economics and English, I get a lot of comments about it being an odd mix. And now, immunology? My degree interests appear to have no connection to each other. I think, though, I've figured out how they apply, at least in my own disheveled mind.

Finance, writing, and immunology are all areas that are limitations of life if they aren't understood. If a student doesn't write well, it stunts their career growth. Writing cover letters for a job or an email to a superior can close doors if a student doesn't do them well. If you don't manage finances well, life is so much more limited. You can't achieve dreams if you're drowning in debt.

And immunology! Especially pediatric immunology! Oh my, where do I begin? Potential of human beings is my absolute passion in life. How can you be the best person you can possibly be?

If a child's immune system doesn't work, even in subtle ways, it changes who they are and where their life is heading. How the mind works, even perhaps more than actual disease. It's those subtle elements that most intrigue me, not the extremes like chronic illness or disease. I want to delve into the 'early on' stage, before people know there's a problem. Creating this strong foundation that the rest can be built upon.

A child's mind is who they are. How do I protect that? I suppose it's my own children that ignited that in me, but my craving is about bringing it out into the world. Like Piaget, I guess, studying his own children.

I wonder what it is that I'm supposed to be when I grow up. I keep thinking I just need to answer the current moment of my life, follow the passions and questions that burn me up at any given point. I went back for my MBA because I was spending so much time reading about finance and economics that I figured I might as well get college credit for it. And, it seemed like I was hitting a wall with available information. The parallels to immunology are striking, as those are exactly the reasons I'm at this point again.

As I muddle through life's choices, I keep wondering how I'll communicate things to my children. God, love, finances, etc. I think most things are modeled through how we make decisions, even when that's not good news. When I get crabby and stop talking gently or patiently, so do my children...even when I remind them to talk gently, my reminders mean nothing compared with my example. And I suppose the same goes for life path. If I'm true to myself, I imagine it will lead me down the right path set out for me...even if I'm not sure where that path is heading.

Just listen to the moment, kids. And figure it will work out in the end. :)

And... if it ends up being a dead-end, at least it was a scenic route.

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