Not knowing what to do may be the best thing


(Originally posted March 25th, 2013)

It is, even if we don’t think so.
Before I start my Monday post, my apologies on not posting for a few days. Work was all I did this weekend, and now I’m laying on the couch after being sick for the past two days. So, oops, I’ll be better this week.
These past couple of months have really shown that sometimes college really isn’t there to help you follow your dreams. Sophomore year has delivered tough news to some of my friends that they either need to change their major within the same field or maybe completely just change everything they’ve worked for and either go to a whole new major or even a whole new college.
How can you tell a 19 or 20 year old that the dream they’ve been pursuing since, more than likely, before they entered college is just now going to have to figure out a whole new path to lead? While I don’t understand why that advice is ever given, or why more isn’t done to help the student than just telling them they’re out of luck, I can’t help but think maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
I don’t mean that you should be happy to have heard that. But what I am saying is that, if you look at it in a different light, this could be a whole new opportunity for you to discover something else that you really will love doing for the rest of your life.
Think back with me – what made you choose your major initially? Really? Okay, now be honest and say to yourself what is was that made you choose your major. I’ll be honest, I picked journalism because I was always told that I was a decent writer and I loved talking to people. And I do love journalism, don’t get me wrong. But if I had been honest with myself, I’d be majoring in International Relations with a concentration on Middle Eastern culture. Why didn’t I do that? Because the idea of majoring in something that I would have no idea if I could get a job in was extremely terrifying, so I stuck with what I knew.
But here you are, with this fresh new plate in front of you. You have no idea what you want to do with your life now, because all you thought you wanted to do was the major you had chosen before you were even considered a freshman. But you know what? You don’t NEED to know what you want to do with your life. It will forever amaze me how we are expected to know what we want to do with the rest of our lives when we’re 18-20 years old. I don’t even know where I want to work at for my part time job, let alone where I’d like to work for the next 50 years.
And I don’t think you should have to know. All of those pre reqs you have that you haven’t taken yet because you’ve been so busy taking the pre reqs required for the classes you were going to take for the major you thought you were majoring in can NOW be used to study abroad. Go on an adventure and see what else is out there in the world. You might go from business major to an education major, maybe even mathematics major to liberal arts. But no matter what it is you decide, at least you gave yourself the opportunity to go find it.
I think a lot of times, we are so scared of what’s going to happen to us once we leave college that we just go along with the status quo without really taking into account what will make us happy. We’re scared of how much college costs, so we try and pick a major right off the bat that we’re pretty sure we won’t change our minds about. Then we’re in college, studying this major, and we really don’t like it. We might not even like the COLLEGE we’re at, but we keep going because reconsidering is a lot scarier than continuing on studying and living in a way that doesn’t give us what we want, doesn’t make us happy. THEN, like the stories I have heard, we hear that oops, you’re going to have to make some serious changes because you’re just not going to make it in this field, and then your whole life turns upside down because this world called college that you thought would keep you safe until you reached the outside world is really just messing you up just as bad. Money lost, time lost and now there’s nothing there to show you which way to go next.
But, really, you already know what to do. Losing the money you spent on those classes is really hard to cope with, I agree. The time lost is hard, too. But the least hard part of all is the deciding what to do next, because I can almost guarantee that when you heard that adviser tell you that you weren’t able to finish what you had started, not only were you mentally telling him or her off, you had envisioned a whole new life for yourself. Maybe it was just for a brief second. Maybe it was just a sigh of relief. But somewhere in those moments between hearing you had to go and trying to figure out what was just said, you already knew what it was you had been wanting to do this whole time.
So, to all my college aged friends out there, relax.
To all my friends who are feeling alone and scared and an enemy of the working world, stop. You have just been given a redo, one of the greatest gifts I could ever think to have. Go look at other colleges. Travel. Learn of different programs. Try to figure out more about yourself. And at the end of all of that you’re still not sure what it is you want to do with your life, don’t be afraid. I’m not sure if any of us really know what it is we want to be doing, but at least we’re all trying to find out.


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