Today, I made a new friend. His name is Perry, and he is a little inchworm I found traversing one of the tables outside of the Divinity School Refectory. I decided I would join him for the duration of my lunchtime indulgence. He didn’t much like the mesh landscape of the table, but preferred the solid perimeter instead—hence the name Perry.
Perry comes from a particular species of web-slinging insectoids who have recently begun a hostile takeover of our beautiful campus, using self-launching propulsion systems to implant themselves onto the scalps of their unsuspecting victims. But Perry wasn’t like the others—he was different.
My friend was an incredibly tranquil creature. The unfortunate thing is, Perry had no discernable direction—he went around aimlessly along the square perimeter, oftentimes peering over the edge, but would never steer away from the path that was set before him. It was clear to me that Perry and I shared a bond—we were more similar to each other than one would think.
At the start of this semester, I was almost certain I would be fully committed to the pre-med life, and that majoring in Neuroscience was going to be the most critical factor affecting the fate of my academic career. I was previously planning to minor in Arabic, but now am considering it as a major. With medical school, graduate school and other opportunities on the horizon, I am once again starting to feel overwhelmed with the decision I have to make. Junior year is fast approaching, and an old geezer like me should probably have his life figured out some time in the near future.
And over the course of the coming summer, that is exactly what I plan to do. For six weeks, I will be studying abroad in Morocco, and I am extremely excited to experience the culture and the language that I love. Additionally, I will give my Neuroscience textbook the time it has deserved all semester in preparation for retaking the course in the fall. Hopefully, through my efforts, I will pave a clear path for myself for the remainder of my academic career.
For almost my entire life, I have been compelled to be amazing. It didn’t matter whether I became a doctor, a lawyer or another prestigious profession—the standard was set for me, and the opportunities had been given to me, but other alternatives were not. Admittedly, there are a number of plausible career options better suited to me, but I will still continue to strive for the greatness I know I can achieve.
Perry, unfortunately, doesn’t have the same freedom I do. Sure, like Spider Man, he can sling his web to and fro, but like any average everyday superhero, he has his limitations. Regardless of how far he inches forward, the perimeter of the metal table will take him round and round in an endless cycle. But it is not the end goal that Perry worries about—what is most important to him is that he follows what his heart desires. Perry never stopped pressing onwards. Perry is my superhero.
But Perry did not deserve that fate. As I readied myself for my departure, I decided that I would give Perry the chance he ought to have. With Perry latched onto my finger, I took my puzzled friend to a flowering tree just outside the exit of the Refectory. I extended my hand out and Perry slung his web down to his new home. I was happy to give Perry the chance at life that he deserved—like me, he had the drive to press onwards, but he was not as lucky as I was. I have been given the amazing opportunity to attend Duke University, and I know that if Perry was given the inchworm equivalent he would go on to do great things. I hope that one day, I can make the same decision for myself that I made for Perry.
I want to live a good life. And I know I’ll get there—I just have to take it one inch at a time.
Bryan Somaiah is a Trinity sophomore. This is his final column of the semester. Send Bryan a message on Twitter @BSomaiahChron.