College Major from a Perspective of a Young Cambodian

Am I selfish for having a dream?

I look at my newly-married husband sleeping peaceful next to me. I don’t love him, but I have to marry him. This is the marriage through the eyes of a young Cambodian. However, something catches my attention making me upset. It is my memory I have forgotten. From what I have recalled, I recount.

Breaking the silence of dawn, the loud noises from the clock wake me up from my dream. Steadily, I extend my hand to snooze the lock, and slowly prevail my brown eyes. It’s a beautiful morning, peaceful and quiet. The birds are chirping happily as a sign that it’s going to be a beautiful day.  The leaves on a mango tree outside my house swing slowly when touched by warm breeze, which is the influence from the tropical weather. However, there is anguish inside my head, and discontent inside my blood stream. It’s been 3 years since they are parts of me. It’s hard to cope at first, but I am eventually be able to live with them.

I remember when I was young, I was so fond of English Literature. In high school, I would spend most of my time reading classic literature. From romance to adventure, I lost myself in an awe-inspiring imagination, where I sought comfort from my disappointing reality. Whenever reading Jane Austen’s, I used ask myself whether I would ever find someone who saw something beautiful. Whenever reading Mark Twain’s, I was able to see the other side of the world through an innocent child’s eyes. To be honest, these novels were my best friends because they comforted me, helped me, inspired me, secured me, and accepted me for who I was. I wondered how ones can have such beautiful thoughts and wild imaginations. Perhaps, I could be one, I thought. Maybe, I would be able to inspire some people the way the authors inspired me through their books, I believed. Probably, I was able to help kids coping with their depression through the merriment of my writings, I dare say. Yet, my life had killed my dream. When I finished my high school, I didn’t get a chance to pursue my passion because I was told to be a medical student.

From genetic biochemistry to bioethics, I’ve struggled to pass. Every night, I am at my desk studying the subject I hate the most. Every midnight, I daren’t go to bed lest I haven’t memorized every technical words in my text books. Turning from one page to the next, I have to keep myself awake to read the countless concepts of philosophy and molecular biology. There are times I cry because I cannot remember everything I should remember. There are times when books make me want to vomit. There are times when I am about to be selfish and choose my dream. Sometimes, I question myself if I am a puppet, if I am living my parents’ dreams because they failed to achieve it, if my life is mine, if I have a privilege to actually dream. Yet, I don’t complain because I don’t want to disappoint my parents, and I hope it will make good amount of money as they claim.

Breaking my train of thought, the alarm rings again. Leisurely stopping the alarm, I am ready for today’s disappointment. I am ready to hide my sadness behind my smile.

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