Friday Speak Out!: Do I have to choose?

Friday, August 28, 2020
by Brittany Dulski

Way back in the pre-pandemic era of 2017, I was cornered by a fellow member of a local writing organization. She asked me when I was going to get a REAL job. I was shocked that this would come from a fellow writer. In her mind, I guess, writing is not appropriate for someone who a.) has a biochemistry degree and b.) wants to be a pharmacist.

The sad logic that a scientist/doctor can’t benefit from writing is not uncommon. This attitude is developed early. Why are creative writing focused non-science courses viewed as nothing more than a mere annoyance to science majors? My favorite undergraduate classes were both from the theater department. However, there are exceptions. Some famous examples include Michael Crichton who wrote Jurassic Park and Daniel Mason who wrote The Piano Tuner among others. Some classmates couldn’t understand why I would write anything if a grade or an application wasn’t attached to it. Professors have been amazed at my dedication to writing something other than term papers.

Contrary to popular belief, I believe that my science background has enhanced my writing by ensuring that I am more precise in my words. Writing has not just helped with relaxing but it has also allowed my personality to shine through in a way that large lecture style classes don’t. I didn’t go into science and writing because they were things I was good at (although I’d like to believe I am). I have had two goals: to be a writer and to work in health care. I don’t want to choose between them. I write for the same reason I want to be in science and healthcare: to understand people and make the world a better place for all.

Did you ever feel compelled to choose between writing and another occupation?

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Brittany Dulski is actively pursuing freelance writing and applying to pharmacy schools. She has recently finished her MS in Biomedicine & Law from Drexel University College of Medicine and has a BS in Biochemistry & Spanish from Albright College.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Brittany--Don't choose one. Choose both. You're passionate about science? You're passionate about writing. Choose both.

A book I enjoyed many years ago was Jodi Picoult's "Handle With Care." In writing it, Picoult thoroughly researched a medical condition one of her characters suffered from. (She's an author that has tackled many different subjects in her novels, and she always gets immersed in the research.)

Your medical background (and future) will serve you well. Who knows? Maybe someday you will write a novel or a memoir... and at its foundation will be (wait for it) science.

Theresa Boedeker said...

Writing makes you better no matter what career you choose. And all careers need writers who can communicate. Don't choose, writing us a benefit to both your careers.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

I too agree Brittany that you should stick to both of your goals of writing and working in healthcare. Each I'm sure will be how you make an impact in this world. Good luck in all future endeavors.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Right on, Brittany! Your career in science will make your writing more interesting. Look at the bestselling Lab Girl or any of Mary Roach's books. I personally try to put all my strange jobs/careers in a blender and see what comes out in my art. :)

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