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Career > Work

Embracing the Journey: Navigating Changing Interests and Career Choices

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Krea chapter.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember my grandma asking me this question at the tender age of five. I remember being fascinated by the idea of being a paediatrician, so I told her that I wanted to be one. The following year, she asked me the same question and at that point, I fell in love with being an astronaut, so I told her that I wanted to be an astronaut. I romanticised being an astronaut and in the midst of everything in outer space had to offer. I read books and books about outer space and idolised Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams. I told everyone about how I wanted to be an astronaut and work in both NASA and ISRO. Then, I read that astronauts needed to know how to swim and had to train underwater. I was deathly afraid of water and never learned how to swim. Soon enough, I gave up on being an astronaut and switched to wanting to be an astrophysicist. I would not go to outer space, but I would still be studying it. There were some deviations of wanting to be a CEO and a psychologist, but the dreams of working in research labs at Oxford or Caltech were still alive, until the pandemic hit. 

The pandemic did some significant damage to my way of learning. I lost my curiosity to learn, and at the same time, 10th grade was over.

“What are you gonna do next?” My father asked me when I was applying to schools for 11th grade. I had given up on learning. My love for astrophysics had fizzled out. What was I going to do next? My parents were open to me taking whatever I wanted, but I stuck to the orthodox way of thinking. I chose science with maths and did not enjoy any bit of it. This was the time when I revisited my fixation on psychology. Why am I falling in love with psychology as a science student?  That is very unorthodox of me. Regardless, I let the subject take its rein on me and I fell in love with it. The love wasn’t gradual like astrophysics; it was fast and swift, and I was a fool who fell hard. This all happened during the 11th and beginning of 12th grade; the time when you are preparing for college applications. For every application I sent, my first choice was psychology. My extracurriculars validated my major and I got into the colleges I wanted. I chose Krea over my other options; the rest is history.

Now that I saw myself in no crisis of having to choose colleges and had much more time on my hands, I decided to reconnect with astrophysics. One thing I realised while doing so is that my love for it had never fizzled out, but rather remained dormant. I reconnected with the subject instantly, and now I am considering physics as my prospective major. I ask myself, “What will I do next?”

As I was introspecting, I remembered Stephen Fry’s comment on Oscar Wilde’s thoughts on having a set goal in mind. Fry said, “Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”

My interests can always vary. My interests have always changed, and I do not need a set goal. I can always have an overarching theme of what I want to do, but that doesn’t mean that I have to limit myself and stick to only one interest. I can always cultivate new interests as I move forward in life and choose to pursue that interest as a career. I remember my father telling me that a person’s career does not remain constant and keeps changing as times change.

I know that I will be fine in the future as long as I do not confine myself to the end goal of having a single ‘job’ (ick). I think this is something that everyone needs to know: instead of being a single-track-minded person, broaden your horizon and inculcate every one of your interests in your work. You will always find a niche that the world will require.

Undergraduate student sharing experiences that may or may not be unique. HUGE fan of the "doomed by the narrative" trope and will geek about anything anime and science. And they will analyse any piece of media they love to bits, whoopsies.