For medical school hopeful Chlamy Damona, finding her passions made her the odd one out.
Although med school has always been the number one priority for Damona, she came to university hoping to meet people with interests — but instead, she met machine-like humans geared solely towards med school.
"I was content initially, but you eventually grow tired of watching Grey's Anatomy and roaming hospitals with your classmates in your free time," sighs Damona.
Enough was enough. Damona decided to step up and be the first pre-med in her class to find genuine hobbies.
Obviously, she faced bumps in the road. Everywhere she turned to in the library, Damona overheard people talk about extracurriculars on campus — only to eventually ask "Would this look good on my resumé?" always posed in the same, eager but self-interested tone.
She struggled to resist the peer pressure. "It was incredibly lonely. I could have just done extracurriculars for the resumé with my friends, but I wanted to find stuff I liked," says Damona.
As well, not everyone was explicit about their resumé padding. Damona describes her harrowing experience trying to find an interesting research opportunity, only to be met by apathy and disdain by her fellow pre-med classmates.
One student asked, "Why do you give a fuck about research?" after they found out she didn't want to pursue med school. Then, they followed up by asking her whether she was switching career paths because her grades were too low.
Another time, Damona went to a global volunteerism meeting and was shocked at the apathy she saw. When Damona accused the executives of volunteering for the resumé, they shunned her and said they "actually wanted to make a difference."
Damona also faced stigma beyond peer pressure. When Damona and her classmates would hang out in places other than the library, they were appalled by her desire to do things that weren't related to medicine.
"Why are you wasting your time with that? Can you even put that on your med school app?" asked one of her friends.
Damona shook all of the negativity off, and then, she finally found a passion: helping pre-meds get in touch with their real interests.
"It's glorious. I just want to show pre-meds there's more to the world than medicine," says Damona.