It was a very rainy morning (no one else had managed to show up due to the chaos ravaging the city), and I had woken up at 6:30 AM, hoping to have enough time to rehearse a few more times. You can never practice enough, right? After a presentation of a little less than 20 minutes and around an hour or so of conversation with the judges packed with compliments, questions and constructive criticism, they kindly asked me to step out so they could decide on my final grade. A few minutes later, we were asked to step back in, and the final verdict was given: I received the maximum grade (um dez!) and a world of hugs and handshakes. I was a bit lost in all the formality and unsure of what to say and how to behave, but it all ended well and my family and friends (who had arrived at the end) accompanied a smiling me out…
And now it is practically done. The road was long. To those of you who do not know much of what has been going on these past five years of my life, I shall try to sketch it out quickly for you. Perhaps it would help to know first that I am an extremely indecisive person and that I grow weary and bored of things very quickly. With that in mind, I commence…
My high school years were coursed in three different schools because of some trouble at Dad’s work. I graduated from high school December 2004 in São Paulo. After much trouble trying to decide what to do, I took up Biology at Mackenzie University and dedicated myself to it for a year.
Time passed, and my fascination for the subject began to dwindle, making me every day more and more unhappy with the decision I had made. So I allowed an old desire of mine to work with film to resurface. My parents worked hard and helped me to get what I wanted, and I made it to Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI to major in Film Studies… for half a year. Homesickness, difficulty in adapting, and some other complications compelled me to return to Brazil. I spent half a year at loss of what to do. I went to Recife and back, hoping things would clear up in my mind, but nothing worked. In an attempt to help me, Dad pulled a few strings and I landed with a job in the office of my old school in São Paulo. My bosses and coworkers accepted me with a warm embrace and showed amazing levels of patience as I struggled to adapt to the professional world.
Meanwhile, the doubts in my mind continued. I did the vestibular for architecture at Mackenzie and passed, but decided to pick up Biology instead. So in 2007, I transferred my classes to UNISA, which is nearby home, and began studying at night. Getting used to studying at night wasn’t easy, as I had learned all my life how to use my brain at 7:30 in the morning and switch it off at 6:00 PM. Coffee was my constant companion for the first semester, until I learned how to concentrate better. At PACA (the old school where I worked at), I now was given a new job: I became a preschool teacher assistant.
I worked with the new preschool for a year and a half, until I realized that, in spite of all the joy working with children gave me, and all that I was learning, it was becoming more and more difficult to keep up with my studies. Working with kids wears you out physically, emotionally and mentally! Also, the last year of college was coming up and I would soon need to dedicate more time to the final project (monografia).
So I sadly explained this to the school and left the kids in the middle of their year. I was determined not to work this year, in order to dedicate myself to studies, but soon before I officially quit my preschool job, I was offered a part time job at the ACSI-Brasil office. The hours and job description (mostly computer work) appealed to me, and I accepted. Then, another decision had to be made: the subject of my final project. I toiled about to find an area which caught my attention. I found an estágio where I least expected to: Mackenzie University. There, the director of the university took me under his wing and offered me the chance to begin a project on type 2 diabetes at laboratory there. I eagerly accepted, as I had no other perspectives at the time, but I quickly learned to love the subject and learning more and more about the mechanisms of the disease.
And so the year 2009 then began with the craziest of schedules. I was now at Mackenzie from 8:00 to 11:30 AM, working at the ACSI office from 1:30 to 5:00 PM, and studying from 6:00 to 10:40 PM. The spaces in between I spent mostly in the car and napping and eating little snacks. The experience was exhausting, and, by the time I reached the second semester of the year, it became clear this was not going to work that well anymore. So I talked with my bosses and organized things to work full time from Mondays to Wednesdays and spent my Thursdays and Fridays at the lab. Things went much smoother from there.
I had spent a year researching, writing, experimenting, and developing my paper on type 2 diabetes. My objective was to develop a rat model which manifested the same symptoms as a human patient (insulin resistance and fasting hyperglycemia) so that this model could be used for future researches with experimental therapeutic drugs aiming to correct the insulin resistance and reverse the fasting hyperglycemia, offering a cure for diabetes type 2. The results were not very much what I had expected, but worthwhile, nonetheless. I presented my project that morning with a million and one things on my mind. I was thinking of the relief I was about to feel once I walked out of that door, whatever grade they gave me, of all the trouble I had gone through to get this far, of how much I wanted to rid myself of all of this once and for all and just sit back and breathe.
And then, it was over. Now what?
I am facing the last few weeks of confirmed academic stress before receiving my diploma, but cannot see anything beyond January 20th, which will be the day in which I am officially “dubbed” a Biologist after 5 years of craziness.
Now what? What do I do with this? The decisions are more complex this time because it is no longer simply the option of where to go to college and what to study there. This time, the horizon has expanded. I could do one more year of college to earn the right to teach. I could go for a Masters degree in the area I am in now (a lot of people are cheering for that). I could simply change areas completely as I had tried to before, switching from science to art. I could dedicate a year of my life to a Bible course.
What to do? What to do…
I suppose I should thank God for all the options He has given me. Perhaps the wisest thing to do right now would be to spend the last few days of this year in prayer, asking the Lord to reveal His will for me. It beats playing eeny meeny miny mo.
I have learned over these years that our plans are petty, that our lives are completely the outcomes of our decisions, and that God is big. Like, REALLY big. Sometimes, He seems too great… too great to answer me when I talk to the ceiling at night. Sometimes, He seems so great… I have doubts. But I am certain that if God is real, then it is unquestionable that He is the God revealed in the Bible, and that He is merciful… merciful enough to forgive my doubts… This all seems like a contradiction—I wish I could end this post wrapping up the story with a happy ever after ending—, but is one more reason I am here, selfishly asking for thoughts and prayers… suggestions, opinions, and anything else you might have to offer…