Tuesday, February 12, 2013

a year since “chart your course”

Exactly one year ago I attended the annual Women in Leadership Conference at the Jones Business School. I got some much-needed advice and chatted with many inspiring women (you can read my notes from my old blog here). The theme for 2012 had been “Chart Your Course”.

After I got back, I planned out some milestones in my life (my idea for 25 before 25 came out of this conference). Most of these were personal, non-career goals. But my most important goal had been simply: figure out where I want to go in my career.


I was in such a weird phase at the time. I was in between schools, loving the work I was doing and doubting my decision to not pursue a PhD. All the while I was flying out for dental school interviews every week and talking to family friends who had settled into happy careers, including a few dentists and dental school professors. For a brief month I even considered going back to Korea for dental school.

To prepare for this post, I was looking back in my notes and one thing stood out to me from the closing talk by Ambassador Cynthia Shepard Perry:

6.  Don't limit yourself. Look around. Remember this quote by Robert Browning: "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or what's a heaven for?"

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for- emphasis on what. My interests are pretty eclectic and unrelated to dentistry (Alex and I talk about dropping out and spending our days writing poetry all the time), but this alone shouldn’t bother me.


So far I’ve been happy to find that dental school didn’t limit my future. Instead it introduced me to many more opportunities out there.

So who knows what I’ll be doing in five years? Or where I’ll be living? I think the key is not to be afraid of this uncertainty… Gulp. If you know me at all you know I plan out everything. But to be comfortable with this lack of planning- and to be freed from “Oh, I need to do A right now to get to B” is pretty liberating.


  1. Yes. Training to become a dentist in Rockford, IL never limited my future opportunities either. After I became a dentist, I found that I could do many more things than I could do before. If I wanted to that is. Thanks for sharing your excellent post! Keep up the great work.

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