I am currently a sophomore in college, and if I'm being completely honest I still have no idea what I'm doing with my life. Ok, that's a lie–I do have somewhat of an idea–and I have thankfully narrowed down my future career options to a reasonable extent. But I'm still not 100% sure which career I want to choose. I came to Stony Brook as a journalism major, switched to computer science, and finally decided on a double major in English and Psychology.
My many failed attempts to decide on major for myself have been a constant battle between my trying to pursue my love of writing and pursuing something practical that will get me a good job after college.
Because let's be honest, that's what we all want–regardless of our major.
I don't want to enjoy myself in college only to graduate and find myself without any job opportunities and clueless as to the direction I want my career to go in.
I had hoped to put the English degree to some use with the intent of becoming a copywriter, technical writer, or content marketer. I added a Psychology major because I hoped it would enable me to write about topics related to mental health and mental illness in a way that would be useful and helpful to others. But honestly, I've been doubting myself and wondering what kind of job would even allow me to do that.
After suggestions from my mom, I've even begun to consider a career in teaching through a program like Teach For New York, which educates and employs teachers in NYC.
During a recent bout of anxiety about my job prospects post-graduation–I looked into careers in the medical field and became interested in occupational therapy. Pursuing a career as an OT would let me use my psychology major, and I can complete the requirements in time for graduation without having to change either of my current majors.
So what is the point of my saying all this? It's to say that I have realized that there is no such thing as absolute certainty. No amount of planning, work, or worry can guarantee any particular outcome. Whether you're a biology major set on going to medical school or a sociology major with only a vague idea of what you want your career to be, you'll never know what could happen. You might not get into your first choice grad school, you could start your dream job only to find out that you hate it, you might complete your bachelors in one area, change your mind, and then pursue a graduate degree in something completely unrelated.
I am learning to accept that I have very little control of the future and that there is no way to know with certainty what my future will look like. I could end up in one of the jobs I've mentioned above, or something completely different. Over this past year, I've realized that at some point you have to just let go. But while uncertainty is terrifying, it's also freeing.
You won't know what will happen until it does–so why worry?
All you can do is work hard, try to develop your skills and work experience, research your options, and try to network. If you end up not making as much money as you want, you can go back to school and make a career change. You have to believe that when the time comes, you'll have the knowledge of your own abilities, skills, and your field to make the right decision. Because what else can you do?