We all heard that seemingly harmless question when we were younger: what do you want to be when you grow up? I remember feeling left out and confused as far back as elementary school because I didn’t have a “dream job.” I heard other kids talking about how they wanted to be doctors, teachers and firefighters, but I was lost. Was I supposed to have some idea about my future career? The pressure of deciding what I wanted to do only increased as I reached middle school and high school. Instead of asking what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would be questioned about where I was going to college, what I wanted to major in and what career I wanted to have. While I felt lost, other students seemed to have every aspect of their life figured out. They would tell me exactly where they were going to college, exactly what they were majoring in and exactly what career they would have.
Looking back now, almost every person that seemed sure of their future is doing something different or will end up doing something different later on. At the time, though, I was nervous and uncertain about what the future held for me. It seemed like everyone had it all figured out while I was completely confused.
Now, as a sophomore in college, I still don’t have it all figured out. I know more about who I am and what I like to do, but I can’t tell you what I’ll be doing 5 years, or even 6 months, from now. However, the difference between now and when I was younger is that I know I’ll be okay. I’ll certainly still hear all those inevitable questions about my major and future, but I try not to feel pressured by it. As hard as that is, I try to remind myself that none of us can be positive about the future. Our passions and ideas are constantly changing, and our ideal future may change based on how we grow and learn.
If you are anything like me and are feeling anxious about your future, I want to remind you that it is completely normal and okay. Most of the people around you are feeling the exact same way. Choosing the right major and career path are part of the learning process in college. Sometimes, it just takes some of us a little longer to find out who we really are. It is more than okay if you are one of these people. In the meantime, explore your passions. Join organizations. Make an appointment with a career advisor. Talk to other students and professors about different ideas. There are many resources out there to support you in the process of finding out what you really want to do.
While it may seem like everyone else has it figured out, remind yourself that no one truly knows what their future holds and that there is nothing wrong with that. Eventually, we will all find that dream job and we’ll know it was worth all of the challenges to get to where we were meant to be.