There are two types of people in this world; those who have known they’ve wanted to go to John Hopkins University, graduate magna cum laude, and become a brain surgeon since they were six years old, and those who are halfway through high school and still have no clue what they want to do with their lives.
Of the two, I am the latter.
In a society where teenagers are pressured to go to college and decide what to study for the rest of their lives at the ripe age of 17 or 18, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Not to mention being surrounded by friends who are destined to be teachers or doctors or fashion designers.
As someone who has interests in several different subjects, I am completely lost. On the one hand, I like science; I could see myself as a pharmacist or even an optometrist. However, I also love writing and interacting with people, potentially leading me to public relations or becoming an author. People can only tell you “you’ll figure it out” so many times before you start to think that you will never actually figure it out.
My biggest fear in life is pursuing a career that would leave me miserable, as I’ve grown up watching shows like The Office, where half the characters hate their jobs. My dad works as a Verizon 911 network specialist, but has since gone back to school to work in the history field. I’ve witnessed firsthand the amount of homework and travel he goes through to know that that is not something I want for myself.
Most colleges ask you to declare a major by the time you’re a sophomore, but what happens when you still don’t know what to do? What if you don’t even want to go to college?
Sometimes it seems like there just isn’t enough time in the world to decide what you want to pursue. 50-70% of college students change their majors at least once, while 43% of adults are expected to return to school by 2020. However, switching majors and going back to school is not as simple as it sounds. These switches are expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes they’re not even worth it, due to the fact that they leave you drowning in debt (in most cases) on top of schooling and a job.
So the question is, why do we stress ourselves out so much trying to figure out exactly who we want to be when we are still all just teenagers? In reality, we have the rest of our lives to figure it out. The pressure comes from our peers and society in general.
Everyone on Instagram seems to have their lives completely planned out, including scholarships, dream internships, and jobs waiting for them the second they graduate. What we don’t see are the years of schooling, interviews, and thought that goes into these picture-perfect lives.
The truth of the matter is that some people know what they want and some people don’t. Everybody has different interests, strengths, and mindsets. We shouldn’t let society, social media, or pressure from friends make us feel like we’re supposed to have life figured out within a certain time frame. In the end, everyone will find something they love and are passionate about, including me.