In high school, you are taught that you need to go to college to become successful. Some teachers even took that a step further and said you need to go to a four-year university to become successful. Basically, we as high school students, are pushed to go to college while we are still unsure of what we want to pursue. Well, let me tell you something: THAT IS OKAY.
Let me say a hypothetical situation. A high school senior is applying to universities knowing that he/she is unsure of where he/she will be in the future. Most colleges let you go in as "undeclared" and get your general education credits out of the way until you decide what you want to major in. Other colleges recommend you choose a major, so you choose business, because what job can't you get with that?
Now a freshman in college, the student takes a few courses, thinks he/she knows what to major in so he/she goes for it. In my case, it was Forensic Science. As long as I could remember, Forensics was my thing. I grew up watching all the Forensic shows like "Dexter", "Bones", and "CSI" and I thought I figured out what I was going to do with my life.
Little did I know, I was so far from it. I went three years as a Forensics major and within those three years, I changed what I wanted my career to be FOUR times. It started off as a toxicologist, then it went to a blood spatter analyst. From there, it switched to "maybe I can enroll in the Police Academy and I can become a homicide detective", to finally deciding on being a pathologist.
In the middle of spring semester my junior year, I decided Forensics wasn't for me anymore. My grades were slipping, I couldn't concentrate on any of my classes, and ultimately...I got bored. I got bored of the one major I loved so passionately before I entered college. So, I switched my major to Behavioral Health Science and I have absolutely no idea where I am going to go from here.
It's okay that my future is now uncertain. It's okay that my entire college life and future career have dramatically changed. It's okay that your future is uncertain.
You don't need to have a plan right after you graduate from college. Just be proud that you did the four years and got that degree! There will be plenty of time for you to figure out what you are going to do. You can apply to graduate schools, you can take a gap year, or you can get a full-time job and be glad you received the one degree you worked for.
People like to make it seem like they have their whole lives planned. "Once I graduate with my Forensic Science degree with my fellow honors members, I am going to go to medical school to get the training I need to become a pathologist. Then I am going to work in a hospital morgue or with the local police crime lab."
That didn't work out so well for me, did it? Life happens, people change, circumstances change. We can't be so sure of anything about the future.
People think that in order for them to be successful, they have to do everything right after the other. Graduate high school, graduate college, graduate medical/graduate school, get your dream career, no break; all back-to-back. However, it doesn't always work that way with no breaks. Sometimes, you need to step back and think about what you want your future to hold and that is okay!
You don't need to feel bad or embarrassed about it because you thought your life was planned out. You don't need to feel rejected because you seem to be the only person that doesn't know what they want to be when they grow up.
Focus on the present. Focus on getting to where you need to be by making sure you do what is in front of you now. I promise, you will get there. You will get to that dream job. You will get to that medical/graduate school.
You may not know what your future holds now, but when the time comes, you will. Just know you're not alone.
A Student Who Also Doesn't Know What Will Happen After College