To me, nothing is scarier than not knowing what comes next. So, I try to plan everything out as best as I can. That means that this summer was the time for me to start the graduate school application process. After looking at over 40 graduate programs in chemistry, I had found maybe 15 that I could possibly see myself thriving in (that is, if I got in). But the more I looked into these amazing programs, the more worried I became that I would not get in anywhere, so I started looking at other graduate programs and stumbled upon pharmacology.
I hadn’t even heard of pharmacology before, but I learned that it is the study of how drugs interact with the body. That sounded SO COOL. As I dug deeper, I got simultaneously more and less excited. More excited because pharmacology is fascinating and I could see myself studying it, yet less excited because again, I didn’t think I would get in anywhere.
Granted, I haven’t even started writing my application essays. I haven’t sent my transcript or GRE score anywhere. So I don’t know if I will even get in anywhere. But I’ve learned to be okay with that. These are uncertain times, for the world as a whole and for me as an individual. So what if I don’t get into a chemistry or pharmacology PhD program? Won’t that be the end of the world? No, no it won’t be.
I learned two things this summer. First, I learned to be open to more possibilities. I had no idea what pharmacology was before I saw it on the University of Wisconsin’s graduate school page, and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunities. I know now that I have to be able to explore new potential paths. The second thing I learned is to be okay with the uncertainty that comes with applying to graduate school, and more broadly, the uncertainty that comes along with being a young adult getting ready to face my future. I’ve learned that I can’t worry about what might be; as I think we all have learned this year, things can change at a moment’s notice. It’s important to be able to prepare for the future, but at the same time, it’s perfectly alright to just take a step into the unknown and see where it takes you.
Casandra Moisanu, ’21