My old diary entries are a time machine. Ice cubes melt into my mocha as I scroll through them, paging through memories of last summer. Some are still vivid—I’ll never forget Ireland. Others—pool parties, flying kites with friends—have faded, not lost, just dim. I talked about coming back to school and junior year being THE BIG YEAR, the standardized tests and the college admissions process looming over my head.
Now all of these things are very real. With less than a month left in my junior year, my grades are pretty much dependent on how well I do on my final exams. I now know the test scores that I’ll be sending in with my college applications. And speaking of those, the other day I went to a session with my school’s college counselor on the Common App and how to begin navigating it so we’ll be able to start right away come August. (Do I sound prepared or what?!)
In some ways the future is more frightening that it was a year ago, and in others it’s less so. A year ago, I would never have imagined that my future as a *Woman in Science* would be uncertain, but that was before I sat through months of calculus and physics classes that I rarely found myself enjoying. A year ago, I refused to label any of my passions as “minor,” constantly battling the idea that I would eventually have to choose between them. A year ago, I was thinking to myself, I still have two whole years of high school left.
Now I know that while a career in science is still a viable option, I have other academic interests—linguistics, journalism, women’s studies—that I’m just as likely to go further in. I know that I’m not going to play varsity soccer in college and I’ve accepted that. (I’ll just have to make time to be a fan instead.) I know that I’ve only got a little over a year left at this high school, maybe in this town, and that year is going to fly by.
Sometimes I miss the confidence I used to have, but lately I’ve realized that I just have a different kind now. A year ago I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and no clue how to do it. Now I have no idea what I’m going to make of my future—but I know how I can get there, one way or another. ♦