I was recently asked to speak at my high school’s career day that is coming up in March. I think the fact that I work at a TV station sounds pretty cool to most people from my tiny hometown (population 2,600). Regardless, I am ecstatic for the opportunity to tell some high school seniors what I wish someone would have told me.
There is so much pressure on kids these days – pressure to graduate college and land a job with the perfect title and exceptional pay. Through college I struggled every day with the fact that I had NO CLUE what I wanted to be when I grew up. It wasn’t a struggle I placed on myself, it was a struggle society placed on me. I remember getting asked 50 million times as I neared the end of high school and through my college years, “so, what do you want to be?” When I responded with, “I don’t know,” I would get a lot of “well, you better figure it out” or “oh, you’ll figure it out soon enough.” I felt lost because I didn’t fit into the mold of people who wanted to become doctors, teachers, engineers, actors. All I knew with 100% certainty was that I wanted to have a family and I wanted to be happy. It took me until very recently to accept that this is totally OK.
In college I settled on a psychology major because it interested me. Period. I feared that if I didn’t go on to get my masters and become a therapist or social worker that this degree would fail me. I was so wrong. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you get your degree in (unless of course you have a specific degree-requiring profession that you are after). What matters is your work ethic and the way you present yourself. Even if you don’t get an education, if you work hard enough you can make things happen in your life.
And if you get through college and you STILL don’t know what you want to do with your life? More power to you. After college, I was even more clueless as to what I wanted than when I started. But life has a crazy way of working itself out. I applied for an entry level position at a TV station because it sounded interesting. Little did I know that I would still be there 6 years later and loving (almost) every minute of it. Is my current job my life’s passion? No. Am I happy? Yes. Are there bigger and better things in my future? Definitely. The opportunities are endless.
I’ve spent so much time stressing and searching and waiting for my life to just click – for me to know exactly what my passion is, what I want my life’s work to be. I’ve finally realized that I’m missing out on the here and now by thinking too much about the future. It’s OK not to know. It’s OK if your life is a mystery. This just means that our journey may just be a little bit more exciting.