Found in my drafts folder from October 2015. I wonder why I didn’t publish it.
I used to think it was an embarrassing thing to say that I wanted to be a writer. That it was, in some way, less valuable, less impressive and intellectual than saying “I want to be an astrophysicist.” So in college I pursued science, and I liked it to an extent. But I’ve loved writing ever since I learned to string together sentences, and it was always something I wished I could make a life out of.
And now here I am at 22. And I am getting paid to write stories on brand new discoveries about the universe made by world-class researchers.
It feels so surreal. I’m really a person who sits at a blank screen and fills it with words and sends those words out to the world.
This is what I’ve wanted to be for the last four years. And now I’m doing it. And I’m getting better at it. And I’m getting paid to do it.
I feel really lucky that I got a job right out of graduation, but for a little while I couldn’t say that I felt like I deserved it. I struggled so much with academics at Caltech, and that really permeated throughout my entire life—I came to define myself as a bad student, as someone who just barely scraped by. And I wasn’t happy with the science that I was doing. So I cannot express how EMPOWERING it is to have this job, to be a writer, to see all the possibilities and opportunities for improvement and to feel like I’m making strides every day toward something tangible that I love. I still feel excited every time I publish another piece. Several people have gone out of their way to send me an email, some kind of “good job” or that they liked a piece I wrote and each time it fills my heart up with so much happiness.
I feel so lucky and happy and grateful to be in this stage of life now, and I am so thankful to everyone in my office and everyone who encouraged me in this odd “science writer” dream along the way.