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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As you start maturing, people around you–specifically those older than you–feel the need to impart their advice to you, from something as simple as how to apply makeup to something much more serious like what to pursue in life.

I myself have had my fair share of advice heaped on me. Some of it is silly and superstitious, like when my mother told me how everyone should have a Vicks VapoRub as a quick fix for whatever sickness suddenly comes. Others are more serious in manner, like pursuing a career so I never have to be financially dependent on a man like the women in my family.

As an anxious teen, I brushed off the small stuff that I deemed unimportant and heavily brooded on the more serious life advice from the women my mother regularly socialized with. All their advice was rooted in family–a value highly emphasized and expected in Latine culture–and listening to my mother–another expectation of Latine culture. Though their advice was good and sound, I didn’t pay much attention to it because I already did what they advised of me. As richer women they did not relate to my struggle in choosing a career path that would be both enjoyable enough for me not to resent going to work every morning and profitable enough to be financially independent and support my family when the need arises.

Luckily, I had chosen a high school that would introduce me to some of the best teachers ever, including one who became my unofficial mentor. She patiently listened to my anxious ramblings about a future that was not set in stone. She also gave me advice, but unlike the advice I was used to receiving, she would give me advice for myself. She opened my eyes to the fact that I was neglecting myself in the very own future I was building for myself.

But that discovery brought up the one question I had neglected.

What did I want to do with my life?

I researched any career that I thought I might enjoy, and, as was my tendency, I mapped out some semblance of a future for each career. As my research dragged out with my inability to pick a career, I despaired and once more found myself rambling to my teacher. Once I was finished, she spoke the words that would change how I viewed and lived my life.

“You’re fourteen!” she said. “You don’t have to have life figured out at this age. And just because you choose one path right now does not mean you can’t change your mind down the road.”

Suddenly, the pressure of my looming future lessened and the path I was most interested in presented itself clearly: English. As a painfully indecisive person, I suddenly found myself with the confidence necessary to make a decision. I chose to study English with a career in publishing in mind.

Now, I feel free to pursue my dreams in a way I couldn’t before with the pressures of a first-generation child and college student. Anytime I start to feel insecure about my choice, I remember that I have the ability to change my mind and choose another path. It helps that the English major can lead to many different career paths.

Of all the advice I have retained over the years, that advice reigns supreme in my memory. It was, and still is, the best advice I could have ever gotten, and they remain words I live by to this very day.

Alexa is a third year English major at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her ambitions include being a best-selling author and successful blogger. Interests include: listening to music, exploring, and reading.
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