Biologists would tell us that we are a sum of our cells. Storytellers and romantics would tell us that we are a sum of stories. But what I’ve been feeling lately dictates that we, humans, are a sum of clichés. And the thought makes my whole being cringe internally.

Why do we hang on to clichés? It’s because they’re comforting. Is comfort a nice word? I do not know if it’s just me but my heart is divided on my opinion of this collection of letters and sounds that may generally be defined as contentment, or solace, or relief. I may be a comprehensible deviant in defining comfort as a dead end, or a box, or a restriction.

We only find what we are capable of doing whenever we test our limits. Testing our limits means breaking apart from our comforts. It means risking something. It means being scared. Fear does not have to be a hindrance though. Fear just means that what you’re risking is worth something – you’re betting on something that you can lose, and that may be a heftier motivation to achieve more.

I was the girl who had everything planned out and set for me since I can remember. All I had to do was follow the dotted line that led to someone else’s definition of “success”.

I had no qualms and I had little to no difficulty in this task. I even believed that this definition of success would actually equate to happiness. I had little trouble achieving every challenge set for me. I had only to put in a minimal effort and whatever it was would be done and over with. I was irrevocably comfortable.

My life in the university changed all of that. I felt what Alice must have felt like when she came tumbling down the rabbit hole and found out that it led to Wonderland. I felt confused but also excited, but I have to be honest in saying that there were a multitude of occasions that I wanted to go back to my parallel version of Alice’s then-London.

My dotted line of Ateneo-UP-Medicine kind of went vague and awry. My love for Marine science sort of eclipsed The Grand Plan of my life. My desire to pursue medicine is still there (I don’t think it will ever go away) but there is also a gnawing desire in my heart not to let go of Marine science.

I know that one cannot serve two masters. And giving less than a hundred percent in one would only end in disastrous consequences. One choice is not better than the other, and any choice would still be as good as any. But choosing one means that I have to give up the other (albeit temporarily).

My greatest fear is that I’d be living a cliché. And as much as I want to step out of my comfort zone and run after my passion for Marine science, I’d be lying if I’d say that that thought is not daunting beyond belief.

So I end this with an unidentifiable weight in my heart, deciding to pursue one love and and putting on hold (indefinitely) the other. So hello, I’m Oyen, incoming freshman of Medicine proper, class 2018.


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