Kaitlyn Rodriguez

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What does it really take to become successful?

Being a first generation college student, I often wonder if it's really possible for me to achieve my goal of becoming a Biochemist. I believe working hard, staying focused and determined, will allow me to reach my goal. But is there something I'm missing? For those of you who already have your careers, what did it take for you to become successful? Is it more than just hard work and determination?

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    Apr 3 2012: Happiness.
  • Apr 1 2012: You have touched a very important subject. I read a book called "The big leap". It was related to what you have described and it is worth mentioning here. You mentioned "you get scared/worried because you feel that its a little too ambitious". At times, the way our mind works is that when we are happy or make a plan, our mind tells us no there is something wrong. This very thing just pulls us down and is a barrier for moving forward. What you need to do in this situation is to ask yourself is this worry real, if it is what can you do about it and if not just garbage it and move on.
    Let us say in your case (for an argument sake), this worry of yours is real (although I am convinced that it is NOT form my perspective). What can you do about it. You are from a poor family and you are the first one to go to college. Use them as inspirations. Literally use them as drivers of your dream. They will help you work hard and be consitent. Very few in this world have strong inspirations like this. On the other hand, you can use these as disincentive which will create barriers and will stop you from chasing your dream. So you are the controller. Use the cause of your worry as a driver of your ambitions. Go for it. You will do brilliant.
    On a different note, 6 year ago, I started supporting a 15 year old boy whose family (still) lives in povety. None of his family members saw school. I not only supported him financially, I mentored him for six years. He is a Gold medalist and have just completed his Electrical Engineering degree (Feb 2012). He topped 7/8 semsters at university. He is looking for a job and will find it soon. He has worked hard and used his being poor as his inpiration. You have no idea how good I feel about him. And he is the reason, I am going to do this more. It is a source of my happiness.
    I have started this site: https://sites.google.com/site/simplestepnow/
    Site is not complete, just the first page is.
    Feel free to contact me if you need mentoring/help
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      Apr 1 2012: Oh my god that's beautiful. And your absolutely right. I need to take my situation and use it as my motivation, not as an immovable obstacle. Your comments have boosted my self confidence more than you can imagine. Ill definitely read that book you've mentioned and I will be checking out your website. I can't thank u enough for all your help and for sharing your personal experiences with me. They've helped me to see that people in my situation can overcome their circumstances and become successful. Once again, thank you so very much!
      • Apr 1 2012: Yes, of course, you can become a successful biochemist. Why not?

        Look at this talk that Ayesha had a few weeks back about fear of success:

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/9371/fear_of_success.html

        It is in line with some of what Syed mentions at the beginning of his reply to you.

        Kaitlyn, you also have to realize that a career is not the end-all. A career helps you make a living. But you might graduate from college and then not be able to find a job in your field. Are you prepared for that? That is reality.

        I studied a career that I am passionate about. But my happiness, and my success did not come from my career or my job. Life has a bigger purpose. You might want to meditate on what purpose do you want to give your life........then live it in harmony with that purpose, despite your career choice.

        There are alot of choices.......a university degree is just a stepping stone in your walk through this life of ours.....hopefully you have found the meaning of success outside university......just my humble opinion.

        Be Well,
        Mary
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          Apr 2 2012: Thanks Mary. I completely agree with you. Success comes from way more than just a degree. And in that aspect, I would consider myself being successful in finding true meaning to my life. But I still have the desire in becoming a Biochemist. Not because I want the money or prestige that sometimes comes with a lucrative career, but because I have this strong desire of one day becoming a Biochemist, doing something that fascinates me, going to work happy and being able to support myself one day without the help of government assistance (which my family and I have relied on my whole life). I want to make something of myself and break that mold of being "just another statistic". But sometimes it causes me to wonder, what it REALLY takes in becoming successful (in the career field)? Is it having a high IQ, or working really hard at an average IQ? Is it the "connections" you have, like family members with good careers and money? Etc. Basically, is it more than hard work, being focused, and determined? And of course, thank you for your informative reply I appreciate it very much.
      • Apr 2 2012: I am happy that you understand. A couple of things. One is related to what Mary has said. Many people think that if they get A, B or C (what ever these are), they will be happy. This is the wrong logic to live by. First be happy, feel good about yourself, be comfortable with who you are, understand who you are and then chase A, B or C.
        Second, broadly speaking there are two types of knowledge (strictly related to your case). One is what you know as a skill, say as an engineer, doctor or a biochemist. These are difficult to understand and master. Once you understand them ,pretty straightforward to apply. Then there is another thing, easy to understand, difficult to apply. The one you understood pretty easily and called it "beautiful" or whatever is easy to understand, very difficult to apply. Be very AWARE of this fact.
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          Apr 2 2012: Thanks Syed. I'm definitely at a point in my life where I'm happy with who I am and I've found meaning in things that money and a career cannot buy. I have strong beliefs and morals that I live by. But I realize that my life does not just consist of these things alone although they are very important. I still need to create a good future for myself where I can do something I love and be able to support myself as well. For me, this is the hard part. Because being human, a creature of habit, it would be much easier to remain in my present situation. But breaking this mold is scary and brings out a lot of my insecurities at times, even though I'm very determined in reaching my goal, I at times wonder, is it really possible? Or just wishful thinking? That's one reason why I enjoyed the comment you sent me of the young man you mentored. I hope one day I can reach my goals, just as he has despite his circumstances.
      • Apr 3 2012: There are deeply entrenched attitudes and incllinations that sometimes are hard to get rid of.

        The fact that you have access to the internet, and communicate with a world-wide group of individuals who are able to give you information on diverse fields is proof that you think 'outside the box' and are a go getter when it comes to improving yourself and growing in knowledge.

        I have only one more suggestion for you.

        Find some TED talks in the field of biochemistry/chemistry...............then read the comments below the video to see if any TEDster gave comments that reveal they are in that field............then, find their profile and see if you can email them some questions.

        It sounds like what you want is to break into the field itself...........have you tried to find a job somewhere that you can eventually climb positions and occupy one in biochemistry after graduation?

        You have to be content with where you are now........everything else will fall into place......hopefully you are working and contributing to your family's income.......I am an immigrant from another country. My family never lived with gov't assistance. Both my parents help down hard jobs, and sacrificed quite a bit to put my siblings and I through private schools. We grew up with a good work ethic. We work hard to accomplish what needs getting done......there are many, many opportunities for young people.

        One has to be flexible when it comes to jobs, because our world is changing as we speak.......Will there be need for biochemists 35 years from now? How do you see the Earth in a few decades?

        I hope I gave you food for thoufht...........We humans like to make plans....but there are certain things that are beyond our control.....be flexible, open-minded...and if you cannot change your circumstances in the future, you can always adjust your attitude.

        I personally think you will do OK.....
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          Apr 9 2012: Thanks Mary! That was a really good idea about emailing TEDsters. I haven't thought of that. And this is something I've definitely learned to live by, "if you cannot change your circumstances in the future, you can always adjust your attitude."
          Also, I've been working in the health care field for quite awhile now. I want to get more into the laboratory though instead of doing patient care. I'm also taking prerequisite courses toward my major and I love it!
          About the future, well my spiritual beliefs make me feel unsure of how long this world is even going to last. But since the Bible itself says no man knows the hour in which that day is coming, makes me feel like I still should at least prepare myself for my future. So in the mean time, I've been enjoying every minute of my life and my studies.
          Thanks for the ideas and the encourgment as well.. I love hearing stories of people like me who've worked hard and accomplished their goals. So thanks so much for sharing your story with me :)
  • Apr 1 2012: It is important to know what you are passionate about and why? it could be one thing or many. What makes you jump out of the bed. What do you find yourself doing. Is this a temporary or a permanent thing. What are your strengths. One need to build on strengths and not weakness. What is your sweet spot. This takes a lot of introspection and possibly extrospection. Working hard, staying focus will automatically follow.
    I wanted to be an Engineer. I did not know why. I guess i liked the name "Engineer". In college, i did not like electricity chapters in physics. I became an electrical engineer. This was because it was hot and i had good marks to get into that field. Also, my dad was an engineer. I did my masters in engineering. After years of being a successful engineer, I am changing my career as I found out that i have strengths that i can utilise to become more successful. And therefore, you need to carefully define what success means to you. In order to do that, you just have to close your eyes, use imagination and fast forward time in order to see yourself, say in 20 years of time. Hope this helps.
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      Apr 1 2012: Thank you so much Syed for sharing your personal experience with me. Well success for me would just be to reach my goal and I definitely see myself being a Biochemist. I'm very passionate about what I want to do that's why I work so hard to achieve this goal. I guess I just get scared because I sometimes feel that its a little too ambitious being from a poor family and being the first out of my family to go to college. But you've demonstrated a good point for me in your life, that it's ok to chase your dream and aspirations, even if they end up being different than what you would have initially expected. I'm happy that you, like myself, have found what you really want to do. And I wish you the best of luck throughout your new journey! :)
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    Apr 27 2012: Interesting question Kaitlyn. If I could I would answer your question but I can't, no one can. There's no such thing as a secret recipe to being successful but there are some things all successful people share. Like Kevin said you need to define what success means to you, that's the first step. Then you can start by reading a couple of hundreds of books, just type "success" in amazon.com. Just kidding, please don't. The most common traits that successful people share is that they all, yes all of them, are in love with what they do. And that they made sacrifices to get where are today. They cried and sweated, it's not easy and it will never be but it’s worth the 'suffering'.

    My advice to you is
    1. Don't give up, never.
    2. Change what you do to get what you want. Keep in mind that the goal doesn't justify the needs, you want to be able to look back without regretting your actions.

    I wish you all the best with your studies.
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    Apr 3 2012: As a fellow interesteé in Biochemistry I must ask: What do you see as success? Do you mean becoming a mayor player in your field? Create something of your own? Achieve happiness? Or be part of something bigger?

    Success is different for everyone. However, everyone has to look where he/she is now and how she has come there, be honest to yourself. You need a goal and the motivation (mindset) to acquire that special something. Of course planning always helps.
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      Apr 9 2012: That's a good point. Success for me would be to achieve my goals. And my goal right now is to become a biochemist. It's not an extravagant goal, I don't want to be the best or smartest biochemist alive lol. I just want to finish school and work in the field that I love. For me, this would also bring happiness. So I guess success in a way is happiness.. I'm hoping ;0) what do you think? What is success to you? What made you want to become a biochemist? Do you think it takes more than hard work to achieve goals? What motivates you to work hard toward your goal of becoming a biochemist?
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        Apr 9 2012: I don't think my answer would satisfy you. My foremost appreciation for your noble goal, but something like that doesn't really soot my urges or gives me that ecstatic feeling you should have when you do something you love. All I ask is to be amazed, like a child drawn to a carousel, watching as it evolves and glimmers. Nevertheless, like an infant I can only fool myself for so long, before longing for more.

        So that said I'd rather use my life to achieve progress, watch how the world revolves around itself and how my efforts might have startled it. I feel privileged for being born in such exuberant times. With the transgression of sovereignty from governments to multinational organizations and science being on the verge of a new renaissance, I can’t but feel provoked to be part of its development. Therefore I have the habit of trying to achieve things people tell me is impossible, not to prove a point, but to astonish my own cynicism with progress unforeseen at the time. Like a Jack in a Box.
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          Apr 14 2012: :) good for u! I like that analogy "like a jack in a box". I have similar feelings. Are you currently in school for biochem? What kind of work do you do now? Is it in the same field?
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    Apr 3 2012: Don't give up.