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Graduating as a Multipotentialite

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Some may be wondering what the word multipotentialite means. Until recently, I had never heard this word before and, subsequently, until recently, I had also never felt more accurately defined by one single word. In a TED talk, Emilie Wapnick defines multipotentialites as those of us who don’t have one designated career path, or those of us whose interests are too grand to pick just one path.

My last year of college shaped around this idea of multipotentiality. I found myself questioning whether I wanted to go to law school (as I had always planned), or work for a nonprofit, or work in public policy, or, well, this (spilling my thoughts onto the keys of my laptop in the hopes that some will find comfort in or relation to them).

Granted, this terrified me.

Everywhere around me, I heard or saw people who seemed completely sure of themselves and of their goals. And, even though I had previously been one of those assured people, I realized I was forcing myself into their mentality – a mentality that wasn’t organically mine. I fell into the trap of wanting financial stability more than I wanted to find passion; I was clutching onto goals that I had since the days of the ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ questions.

This isn’t to say that people who find that one specific career path (and are fulfilled by it) are wrong, but it is to point out that not everyone falls into this category. A lot of us feel frightened and alone by our scattered and mixed goals and aspirations. That fear and loneliness, also pointed out by Emilie, comes from our culture and our society; somehow our worth or potential is lessened if we are “exploratory” humans. Society convinces us that in order to succeed and be happy, we have to pick one path (usually at the age of 18 – a time in which, if I’m being honest, I couldn’t even cook rice on my own without burning it) and stick to that one path.

My fears have now morphed into fuel for the next phase of my life. Instead of seeing limitations or hurdles, I see possibilities and options. Instead of being afraid or feeling a sense of failure, I’m energized and embracive of the multiplicity of my interests and goals. Society’s definition of success no longer limits me, and it shouldn’t limit anyone. Everyone’s light is different and everyone excels differently, but our light and success should be measured by nothing other than our own perceptions of the happiness we want.


Image from: blogspot.com