“Do whatever makes you happy… like for me, cutting brains.”

Ashneet Dhami: “Since kindergarten to seventh grade, I knew I would do something in the medical field. [I decided this] without my parents’ total influence. And so, I’d watch documentaries, brain games, and ‘Mythbusters.’ [Then] what happened was in 10th grade I was doing my homework and came across this one chapter about the nervous system and got dragged into it. It started from there.

In seventh grade to eighth grade [I’d do] internet research and I bought a few books [about neuroscience]. I kept reading [and then] I made my first brain book. Then I participated in a mandatory Science Fair, where I was like, hey, maybe I’ll do something fun. I did a project on Alzheimer’s disease, went to the UCSF lab, and took a tour. It was very fun because I saw a bunch of cut brains. That’s basically the start. Then I remember my friend gave me my first neuron shirt. It was funny because I wore it the whole day.

[To people who are unsure of what to pursue], I would say, ‘do something that you like.’ Don’t do anything you are forced upon to do because you’re not going to have fun. It’s not just about getting money, and I know that it’s a good part of life to get money and to be financially stable, but it’s not [as] important as your happiness… If you like something that you could do, you know, you should, even if people say no around you, and I know especially with parental pressures. I have a few friends that want to do, for example, music, but they can’t because their parents are saying no. I would just say, do whatever makes you happy. Regard that you should have enough money to be financially stable or to actually survive, but don’t base your whole life on it. You should be happy and do fun stuff, like for me, cutting brains.”

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