“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
We have been asked this ever since we were little kids. At first it seemed so easy; we were told we could be anything we want. We were going to be astronauts, authors, scientists, and actresses. I myself was going to be a “book illustrator” until I realized a few years down the road that I had no artistic ability, like, WHATSOEVER.
This weekend, I ran into a woman whose children I used to babysit for as a teenager. In our conversation catching up, she mentioned how she was switching careers because she “still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.” This had me pondering about how as a society, we are constantly pressured to “pick a career” and stick with it. I’ve seen schools pressure even middle school students to start thinking about a career. I love the idea that we should keep our children focused on their future, but I think that we shouldn’t put so much pressure on them to figure it all out right away.
I had no idea what I wanted to do for the longest time. It took me six major changes and my final year of college until I finally figured out the path I wanted to go down. (You can read my story in detail here.) Even now that I have chosen to pursue school counseling and am admitted into a Master’s program, who’s to say that my interests won’t change 20 years down the road? Perhaps I’ll pick up a hobby that eventually turns into another career on the side, or I’ll get bored and choose a completely different route.
To any adolescents, college students, or anybody in general is stressing out about picking a career, here’s my advice:
I think that it is perfectly okay to live your entire life without figuring out when you want to be.
Why? Because as people, we are very dynamic. We are constantly changing and evolving with our environments and age. Because you think you are set in your job or career right now doesn’t mean that you have to stick with it forever, or that you can’t switch it up.
My boyfriend of two years went to the University of Minnesota. At the time, he had no idea what he wanted to do, so he chose the only major that the university offered that mildly interested him, geography. After college, he searched around for jobs involving land surveying but couldn’t find exactly what he was looking for. To keep himself busy, he joined the volunteer fire department and the local ambulance service, not knowing that it would eventually turn into a passion of his. He went to a Technical college and became a certified EMT-IV. I don’t think that at the University of Minnesota he ever would have imagined going back to school to pursue something different, but who says you have to have it all figured out when you are that age? Even if he has some loans to pay off, he loves his life, and his passionate about what he is doing.
So how do YOU eventually figure out what your passion is?
Practice, practice, practice my friends. I didn’t know my true strengths and weaknesses until I played around with different jobs and internships. There were jobs that I thought I would like until I acquired experience and realized that they just weren’t “me.” Career assessments are a great way to learn more about yourself too, but I believe the number one secret is to work experience.
To those people who knew exactly what they wanted to do at a young age and stuck with it throughout their whole lives, I commend you! But lovelies, please don’t feel pressured that you ever have to know exactly where you’re heading.
Because that’s all part of journey, loves.