Published November 13, 2012 · Filed under ,

Maybe this is the sign of an impending quarter-life crisis…. but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what inspires me and what I want to achieve in life. I was fortunate enough as kid to always have access to libraries, and found solace, constancy and direction in books that I had nowhere else. More so than school, than parents, than teachers it was the books the words of often long-dead friends, that influenced and shaped the paths I chose and the decisions. But there is a long way from Verne’s journey to the center of the Earth to Dosteovsky’s contemplative meanderings through the alleys of St. Petersburg– and none of it seems particularly relevant to how I ended up sitting in a cafeteria in Montreal.

I became involved in research in civil/environmental engineering in high school, and right up to the point I was about to enter college I was convinced I was going to be an engineer. But as it is in life, sometimes the two roads diverge, and when I received the acceptance letters for the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science I had to make a choice. I drew the lists you’re supposed to, looked at pros and cons, and tried my best to take a circumspect approach. But when it came down to the decision, it was rather arbitrary– I just knew. So at the end there I was, in the Faculty of Science, with hundreds of specialties and thousands of courses I could take. I have to admit at that point I was quite envious of the people who knew exactly what they wanted, because the more lists I made the less certain I found myself.

After jumping from program to program, taking dozens of courses that I would probably never need again (looking at you physical chemistry), by (fortunate) happenstance I finally found my place in Anatomy. For some time, though, it seemed to me that there was absolutely no rhyme and reason in the paths and places life had taken me. As an adult, I’d escaped the certainty of books, and ended up in the chaos of the real world.

Recently, I was looking at a pile of old writings and drawings I’d brought from my last trip to my grandmother’s place… and by old, I mean from when I was 5. That year, I’d found the translated version a book called “The Incredible Journey Through the Human Body” by Nicholas Harris. I remember the hours I spent utterly obsessed with this book and its characters (and of course that shy moment where I learnt where babies come from). Looking at the pages of my old notebook, I find it striking that years later I should have ended up in taking a course working with cadavers and exploring the human body in person. I probably shouldn’t lend this meaning, given that I didn’t remember at all during the duration of my degree. But, frankly, I have this strange suspicion that this entire time a little 5-year-old with with a book in hand was nudging me as she looked out curiously though my eyes.

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Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi


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