I write to cope, to dream, to live, and to commemorate, and have done so for as long as I can remember. I like to think my writing is more sophisticated now, but in truth, I am still proud of my 12-year-old imagination. When I was 12, I had plans for the world, and now at 22, I am distracted. When I was younger, I wrote about my dreams and my hopes for life. Now, as an adult, I write to escape, but also to focus. Every day, it seems like the stack of plates I juggle is getting higher and higher. Using poetry to analyze one problem at a time prevents me from becoming overwhelmed by the sheer volume of adult responsibilities.
I like writing because translating my emotions into words allows me to process them rationally. Pharmacy school is stressful, life is stressful, and somehow the act of putting my worries on paper allows me to compartmentalize and focus on what’s needed at the moment. Poetry allows me to move my fears out of the forefront until I have time to address them. I use poetry to emote so that I can celebrate life. Sadness too serves as a catalyst for writing, when I pour my heart out to air my sorrows. I write to leave myself paper memories: little bits of intense emotion that remind me that life is wonderful in its complexity and duality.
One of the most frustrating things about being a writer is that I write for myself. Call me a Disney protagonist who breaks into song in the middle of Central Park, but writing, to me, is about being spontaneous, and spewing out a volcano of emotions at irregular intervals. Writing on demand is difficult and it only makes it harder when I try to write in a way that doesn’t come naturally to me.
When I explode, out pops a poem, not an essay or a paper, so writing the fourth and final version of this essay has been trying. My usual style of choppy but powerful phrases may work well together in a poem, but attempting to translate this style into prose is a recipe for disaster.
After a long day at school, chock full of study groups, group assignments, and all other manner of team-building exercises, poetry allows me to decompress. School very much encourages the team-based approach that has been shown to improve patient outcomes and save lives. Helping people is the reason I chose pharmacy. Poetry allows me time to vent after a full day surrounded by people, and at the end of the day, unwinding by writing poetry is infinitely more productive than spending hours watching puppy videos on YouTube.
It may seem like I just sit around and contemplate life on Walden Pond. In fact, I have been fortunate enough to visit there and write a poem, sitting under a tree where I like to believe Thoreau himself once sat. but pharmacy school doesn’t leave a lot of time for contemplation, let alone vacation. I work a part-time job, attend a full-time graduate program, have a full social life in the form of six very demanding but loving family members, and recently added a boyfriend to the mix. It is a wonderfully busy life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Poetry allows me to put every happy distraction into perspective, and also comes in pretty handy when I don’t have time to shop for birthday gifts.
To conclude, I am a nerd. I love writing, but I picked pharmacy as a vocation because I love science, too. Organic chemistry was so much fun for me because it is essentially a sophisticated version of Lego. Once you know how the pieces fit, everything makes sense. I feel the same about our flawed but wonderful English language. I like to think that in another life I could be a lyricist and bring poetry back into pop music, but for now, I will keep myself content with my dream of being a pharmacist. Feel free to share my poems with Justin Bieber … you never know where his next hit might come from.