Writer's Journey in STEM: Mehak Dureja

Here I am, writing the first blog post of the semester having finished one midterm and having another one just the next day, but all in the life of a science major, right?  Not only do we get questioned by others about why we chose such a rigorous path, but we also second guess our own career choice. I know I definitely do. So, it’s safe to say that it isn’t easy being in a world where our abilities are being challenged in every possible way. However, I think we all find our own reasons that keep us going each day despite all the hardships we face in this field. I grew up with hearing subtle remarks and comments about the “proper” role of women in society from everyone around me. However, there was one individual in my life who constantly reminded me I could be “anything your heart desires”. My mom. As a child, I was naive and didn’t have just one passion that I wanted to pursue- rather, I had a long list of “things I want to do when I grow up”, of which, some were unrealistic. It wasn’t till I was a bit older where I finally learned about my mom’s experiences in the sciences. I discovered that before our family my mom was an independent woman whose passions lied in the health profession, but women at the time were discouraged from pursuing such careers. Despite society’s toxic comments, she obtained a Bachelors in Science and a Masters in Nutritions Services, but was eventually forced to give it up. However, when she had to raise my brother and I, she used her education to finally pursue a career she was restricted from having. She had never forced a career or major upon me, but after hearing her story I wanted to follow her footsteps and go into STEM to disprove all the stereotypes women face.  I chose to become a Cellular and Molecular Biology major and Women’s Studies minor because I wanted to begin my pre-med journey. Being a STEM major is as hard as it is, but being a woman in STEM is a whole new challenge. That is why, when I first heard about WSS, I felt relieved, because I encountered a community of women grappling with similar struggles as me. As humans, we are more inclined to be sane when we are told we are not alone. From doing lab reports together to pulling all nighters for a huge midterm, we establish and strengthen friendships with each other. I have made some amazing friends and found mentors who I can count on when my overdramatic self feels like my life is falling apart. Personally, when I am overwhelmed or stressed I have a difficult time processing and articulating my emotions and that is when I find comfort in writing and reading. A lot of the times, I find myself researching scientific studies or reading other people’s recollection of their journeys to ease my stress and find a solution to a problem. As a writer for the blog posts this semester, I hope to bring you girls content that has guided me in daily life, positive affirmations, and anything else you guys need to alleviate your worries.