Leaving Complacency.

I've recently decided that I'm going to study to become a doctor. I'm 24 years old, and I expect to achieve my M.D. by the time I'm 32. I came to the conclusion that I would like to study medicine while eating a banana, strawberry, nutella, whip cream and walnut crepe in Santa Cruz across the street from the Rio Theater. I've never been good at science; I passed biology, chemistry, and physics in high school, but I never really understood what I was doing half the time. The other half the time I spent copying someone else's homework. I excelled at what came easy to me: English and theology. And then I took the easy way out again: I declared creative writing as my major at Seattle University. I took writing courses, wrote when I felt like it, and got nothing less than an A- in any of my English classes. It cost me $18,000 to do that, and it cost my mom almost triple that amount. Now, I'm not going to study medicine because I want to earn a lot of money as a doctor; no, I want to study it because I've never really studied anything. Not since 6th grade, at least. 6th grade social studies questions were brutal. They only required 2-3 sentences to answer them, but still, maybe it was the wording or the randomness of the questions; they were hard. I want to be challenged again. I don't want to just try to "get by," or even survive a class. I want to be able to say, "this is is challenging," and stay up until 4 in the morning until I finally get it.

Why do I want to challenge myself? Because, as Victor Villasenor pointed out last night, I need to "kick my own butt out of complacency." After graduating from Seattle University, the future "Georgetown of the West Coast," I took the lowest, laziest job possible. I worked for AmeriCorps. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, look under your sofa cushions to find the amount of money we volunteers make in a day. Again, I don't really care about the pay, or the lack of proper healthcare insurance. It's the lack of responsibility I was entrusted with that really hurt. I showed up at 8:30 or 9 (whatever my mood was), and one day, my coworker, Adam and I missed a team meeting to go see King Kong. We were gone for four hours while still on the clock. We tested our supervisors more and more everyday, awaiting disciplinary action like schoolchildren needing attention, and it never came. Adam eventually dropped out and I made the mistake of continuing on without him. I was paid, albeit not very much, to remain in a state of complacency. At the time, the 2 hour lunch breaks, the self-regulated half days were amusing in themselves, but, in retrospect, I wish I hadn't taken that cheap sabbatical.

Here I am now, in my second year of AmeriCorps. The bell has just rung. I'm off to Mr. Cramer's class, my own personal sitcom. He is David Brent and I am Tim. And, like The Office, all of this is almost hysterical, yet at the same time, utterly depressing. My pipe dream of becoming a doctor, of challenging myself to the point of endless debt and no return, is all that can keep me moving forward.

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