Who Do I Want to Be in this World?

Kara Rottmann, Editor

You could say that freshman year is like being stuck in the middle of the ocean. It’s all uncharted territory. You’re in a completely new environment with new teachers, classes, and students. Not only is it difficult socially, but academically the workload and expectations gets a lot heavier as college is just on the horizon. Your grades start to matter, your GPA is constantly a looming thought in the back of your mind. Throughout the year, you get bombarded with the question that no one really seems to have the answer to yet, “What do you want to do when you graduate?”

I remember in Kindergarten when they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up for the first time. Of course we were just children, so answers ranged from “fireman” to “police officer” and maybe even the occasional “princess” or “knight” because at that age our imaginations were running wild. I wish that answer was still so simple. But in reality, we are older now, more mature. We think realistically. College seems so far away, 4 years. But when life is so short, when things can change so drastically in just a millisecond, 4 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things. There are so many aspects that go into making a decision about what you want to do such as time, money, family, friends, and even location.

Most haven’t even thought about it yet. “We are fifteen,” they say, “we have so much time.” However, they say that high school goes by really fast. You have to live in the moment, making memories that could last you a lifetime so that you don’t regret all the things that you had the opportunity to do, but didn’t. Before you know it, you are a senior. Now the question that everyone has been asking you is finally important. It might be too late by now. You might want to go to art school but can’t apply because you don’t have time to create a portfolio. You might regret your unintentional procrastination. That is the scenario that scares me the most. What if I don’t have enough time?

Obviously, money comes into the decision. You have to think about student loans and debt. Is it worth it to be drowning in student debt just to get a paper degree? In order to do what you want to do you may have to go through countless years of education to get a job. You think about how you can help your family pay for your education. Maybe that means you get a job to start saving. Or maybe you become more frugal with what you have. Instead of going to a movie with your friends, maybe you decide to hang out at someone’s house instead. Instead of buying that new iPhone, you decide to use your brother’s old one. It seems to be the little decisions that drastically change the big ones.

You think about your family. Every minute since you were born, you have spent every single day with them. It might be a very new environment for people to get used to when they are far away from their loved ones. For example, some jobs might have to live in a big city, such as a journalist or businessman. However, your family lives miles away from the big city in the countryside. There is also the stigma of family expectations. Your dad, grandfather, and great grandfather, could all be lawyers. You, however, do not want to go to law school and become a lawyer. You might want to become a doctor or a chef. That’s perfectly okay. There comes a time when you have to stop doing things to make others happy, and instead make the decisions for yourself.

Being in a new environment always means that you are surrounded by people you don’t know. I would know, I have been in so many different schools since kindergarten. Each time, I’ve been able to make friends in a new school environment. Adults sometimes struggle with this. They view work as something that you do in order to make money. Maybe that’s why people don’t like their jobs. They do it for the wrong reason. Most adults say working in a community where you know people and have work friends is really important. It could also be that you don’t want to leave your friends back at home. You have known them since kindergarten. You have been with them through all the ups and downs of growing up. They have been your partner in crime since day one. Saying goodbye is always difficult. Especially when a new door is about to open up in front of you filled with unexpected challenges.

Location will always be something people think about when deciding what they want to be. For example, maybe you hated high school and school in general. You, however, want to become a teacher. But do you really see yourself back in that environment? You have to be honest with yourself. You have to think, “is this where I see myself?” Can you really handle the long work hours of sitting behind a desk typing at a computer? Can you see yourself standing on your feet all day being creative and collaborating with others? What inspires you? What have you been passionate about since you were little? All of these are great examples of questions to ask yourself when thinking about such an important decision.

It may seem like you are stuck doing the same thing forever. In conclusion, the decision is never final. Let’s say that you have been a dentist for almost ten years. Yet, you aren’t satisfied. You don’t enjoy it. The option is always open. You can always go back to school for a degree that you are really passionate about. Or maybe you can work from home and do freelance work so you can be there for your kids and see them grow up. It’s such a difficult decision. That’s why it’s a good idea to start thinking about it now. Do what makes you happy. Stop over thinking it. Remember, it’s your future. You’re the one that’s going to have to live in it.