Growing up, my two favorite subjects in school were math and English. By the end of high school, I was pioneering the most advanced calculus class my school had offered while winning departmental awards in for my writing and developing my own curriculum for an English independent study.
For much of school, I felt pressure to pick a “path.” Sure, I could be good at math, but was math my “thing?” Or was being a writer, an artist, a creative, where my true talents lay?
My freshman year of college, I finally succumbed to the pressure. I walked out of the third day of my multivariable calculus class straight to the registrar’s office, dropped the class, and enrolled in yoga*. Save for a (required) incredibly basic statistics course, I didn’t touch math again for the rest of college.
If I had finished that calculus course, would I have continued on to a successful mathematics career? Probably not. But I could have gotten into data or computer science, learned how to code, or at the very least taken a more advanced statistics course. And none of this would have required me to give up my creative pursuits, passion for writing, or even that ever-so-confusing (at least to future employers) geography degree.
We are always taught about forks in the road, but no one ever told me about the parallel lanes.
*Side note - this was the first formal yoga class I took, since then I’ve been hooked. So no regrets in that sense