What do you like? What is your passion? What could you be happy doing for the rest of your life? These were the questions I was asking myself when I was 13 years old. I have an older brother who was gearing up for his senior year of high school at the time, so I became fixated on getting a head start on sorting out my life. Everything he was doing seemed so exciting to me, and I wanted a piece of it. Developing a Rachel Berry-esque attitude and ambition, I was—naively—dead set on finding what I liked and preparing myself for it.
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To many, it probably seems like I worked backwards. Instead of going to college, deciding on my major, then looking for a career in that field, I looked at my prospective endgame first. To help myself answer the questions that opened this article, I used a resource that my counselors at school provided me with: Career Cruising. This website helped me find a field that not only interested me, but which I was supposedly suited for. Given the information I provided about my interests and preferred working conditions, I was recommended to careers in international and foreign language fields. So, I started setting myself up to be in the best position possible to get to that place. This meant majoring in a global studies/international relations major, going to a school with a good international program, and in the meantime, making myself as marketable as possible to those schools. That is how I came to be sitting here today with over six years of foreign language classes and significant experience in other humanities subjects.
At that young age when all of this started, the idea that I might significantly change as a person before I was ready to go off to college was an implausible thought. I had no grasp whatsoever of who I would be in four years, or how much I would change. I had no scope to believe that I would even change at all! Luckily for me, I haven’t changed so much that it has made my meticulous planning completely worthless; if anything, I’m more interested in that field now than ever, with emphasis on the language aspect.
However, there are more and more conditions to an international job that, while unimportant to me at 13, are very important to me now. For example, I wasn’t anywhere close to thinking about my future family when I was making my career plans. The closest I got to considering my life in my late 20s to 30s was, “Eh, it’ll work itself out. Other people with these jobs make it work.” Now, however, it’s almost all I can think about, considering that having a family has become incredibly important to me. Most, if not all, of the careers I have researched require near constant traveling. What would life be like for my kids? Would they be able to go to good schools? How will my future husband’s job be affected by what my job might require?
Another thing that I didn’t account for was my growing interest in other fields. Oddly enough, one example of this is writing! Never in my young life did I think I would enjoy writing as much as I do now. I even opted to take a position on the journalism staff instead of taking a free period this school year. I always loved to read, but I never imagined that I would want to create compositions of my own. I was content reading and rereading my favorite books.
This has led me to think over my choice in major. I ask myself: should I study in a field I may be less happy working in, even if it is a “safer” option? Despite the challenges I may face, I have decided that I still want to follow my dream and study something I’m passionate about. Nothing else in my life may work out the way I want it to; life is unpredictable. But, this is something I have a choice in. Given that I have this opportunity to choose which way my life will go, I want to choose what I believe I will be happy doing.
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