Random thoughts

At the age of thirteen, I wanted to be a housewife.

It was such a glorious job, taking care of your family, your husband, your children. You built a home. There was such job satisfaction. My favorite teen magazine published an article on careers for women, saying something about 'being just a housewife.' I wrote them an angry letter in the defense of housewives, which was actually published.

Then, my housewife mother sat me down and gently told me I could do whatever I wanted, after I had accumulated enough skills to make my own living. Being able to make money is very important, she said. It made sense.

So I decided to be a computer engineer. I would follow in my father's footsteps, start a business, be successful. I would wear business suits with high heels, sit in revolving chairs and seal million dollar deals with a handshake. ( I swear I wasn't high.)

In high school, I started preparing for entrance exams. I had inorganic chemistry from 5 am to 7 am, then school, then organic chemistry from 4pm to 5 pm, physics from 5 to 6, and maths from 6 to 7. I rode my blue Kinetic Honda scooter from coaching class to coaching class. It was fun, but something was missing. I debated with myself. I got frustrated. I started having little panic attacks.

Then my brother came home and sold me the idea of medicine. To be a doctor, he said. The respect, the satisfaction, the good you could do. My sister gave me Doctors to read. I was hooked. It would be wonderful, to be a doctor, a psychiatrist, to practise the science and the art of the mind. The maths class was switched to Genetics, then Botany and Zoology.

Some hundred exams and entrance tests later, here I am. I like my job, and I'm good at it.

But I wonder what would have happened if I'd gone for a degree in literature.

Read and post comments


About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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20 Responses to Random thoughts

  1. Aubrey says:

    I love the equation that includes botany, zoology as well as psychiatry. If you study the mind, it will be an experience that never ends, that will never give you a pat answer. You will never have to worry about stagnation or boredom – the human mind will always come up with something new!
    And you can still immerse yourself in literature. You can read it, and then share it with others – in the hands of a doctor, it can be quite a formidable tool!

  2. But I wonder what would have happened My guess is that you would have been terrific at whatever you did, and would have found a way to make peoples' lives better along the way, like now — but you might not have been as happy doing it.this is a wonderful post — I'm glad you had choices and explored — and that you also had loving support, too.

  3. Emjay says:

    I think that you are so talented and focused that you really could do anything you want to. And, the great thing is that you still have many years in which to change again if you feel like it!

  4. Amy Jeynes says:

    If you'd gotten a degree in literature? Hmm… if you're referring to a master's or beyond, you likely would have been funneled straight into a career as a college professor teaching literature.
    I agree with Aubrey; you can still immerse yourself in literature. If there's a particular genre or era of literature that excites you, read a handful of current books about it, compare their approaches and viewpoints, and you've pretty much simulated a graduate-level seminar! (Except for the arguing-with-others part; if you want training in that, you'll have to join a book club, I guess.)
    I've ditched a lot of my college books, but I've kept the ones about my favorite topics. I have a shelf of Thomas Jefferson stuff, for example. It's fun to become well read in one small area of study.
    If you had to read five books on a particular literary theme, what would you choose?
    For example, there are entire books written on the literary theme of "the madwoman in the attic." That could be interesting reading given your field of specialty and your thoughts about women and careers.
    Margaret Fuller is a good one to read and to read about, also.

  5. Amy Jeynes says:

    P.S. You could also have become a food stylist. Your food photography is outstanding!

  6. Purplesque says:

    That is true; I don't think psychiatry will ever be boring for me.I do read a lot, but my immersion is more of an aspersion, simply because its so patchy!

  7. Purplesque says:

    Thank you. I'm trying to blog more about things that are really important to me; it feels odd.I did have loving support- it almost feels like my parents set too good an example! πŸ™‚

  8. Purplesque says:

    πŸ™‚ you're too kind. I love what I do too much to change; but there might be partial lit degree lurking in my future!

  9. you would be working in a book store or a library – hello, that's me!

  10. Oh, you ARE my sister! Our experience was very very similar. I almost thought I was going to be a doctor like the rest of my family or an engineer/architect like my father. I learned a lot of maths, organic/inorganic chemistry and biology too. Physics totally killed me. Then I was sold on the idea of being an economics researcher. I studied economics and econometrics for 5 years. Now we have our own business, and guess what, I don't know what I ever really wanted to be. I'm finally learning to be a housewife, which probably is the best for my nature and personality.

  11. julie says:

    I wonder where I would be if I wasn't a lit major. πŸ™‚ Though I love it, I work in finance now, so tell me doctor… I'm I just masochistic?

  12. Purplesque says:

    Thanks! I sent you a message in response.

  13. Purplesque says:

    That has always been my answer to the question of 'What would you rather be doing if not this?'

  14. Purplesque says:

    Thank you for writing that. You're right about having fun..I'm definitely enjoying myself, but it doesn't keep me from wondering occasionally! Its reassuring to hear that everybody has these doubts.Economics for five years! Now thats something I couldn't have done! πŸ™‚

  15. Purplesque says:

    Bah! I think you're there so can feel superior over all those poor finance people. πŸ˜€

  16. Scott says:

    If you'd gotten a degree in literature? Hmm… if you're referring to a master's or beyond, you likely would have been funneled straight into a career as a college professor teaching literature.
    Or ended up like me: a software developer. Go figure.

  17. Purplesque says:

    A software developer with a lit degree? So you're the one responsible for this.

  18. Scott says:

    It's a nerd double-whammy! πŸ™‚

  19. bee says:

    i think you'd have been a famous prof with books on literary criticism. btw that's what i studied, and then did another degree in another subject.

  20. it's been a great life – living my passion

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