We have reached the one-month mark on our time in South Africa. I have officially spent my first month out of the United States and I am shocked to not feel overwhelmed with homesickness. Sure, I miss my family, friends, and dogs, but this experience has been eye-opening.
My internship at the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) has been busy and productive. I have enjoyed the policy research and conversations with my co-workers in a warm and welcoming environment. However, the experience has further clarified the fact that I am still unsure about what my future career looks like.
In one of my favorite OneRepublic songs titled “Future Looks Good”, one of the lines goes “Everybody else can lie, But honey I won’t see you with a … broken set of eyes.” There are a handful of people who I can name that have seen me without a broken set of eyes. Two of those people are my parents.
Growing up as the daughter of a lawyer, expectations for me have always been high. My parents prioritized my education above everything else. They constantly fought to make sure I was receiving the best education available to me. From making sure I was accepted into the gifted program in elementary school, to helping me transfer schools in 8th grade. Driving me to school every day so I could be in a more academically stimulating environment and writing my county school board to ask them to remove a grade from my transcript (which in turn started a precedent in our county), my parents have sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am today.
But even though my mother was a lawyer, she constantly advised me to not follow her pathway. She insisted that the job market for lawyers was over-saturated and I should enter the medical field. And indeed, I had every intention to enter the medical field. But Chemistry 101 flipped my world upside down. After taking that class, I realized science was not my passion and that I could not continue the pre-med track.
When I told my parents that I decided to drop pre-med, their response was warm and affirming. They told me that if I was (a) happy, (b) could get a job after college, and (c) was making decent money, I was free to study whatever I wanted. After hearing that, I felt more empowered to change my major.
After some intensive soul-searching, I decided to study public policy. Thus far, I have not regretted my decision. I have thoroughly enjoyed my classes so much more. I love how I can study a bit of economics, history, and political analysis.
Although I have found my track at Duke, looming questions remain. For instance, I would love to attend graduate school, affordability willing. Having the opportunity to study a niche topic and add my thoughts to distinguished scholars would be the epitome of a dream realized for a nerd like me. As someone who has loved learning since they were little, how could I not pursue the highest degree of education available? Only time will tell what I decide. For now, I am viewing the future without a broken set of eyes and taking full advantage of my time with the WLC. With this perspective in mind, the future looks good.