I wasn't always certain of what I wanted to do as a career. Some people are born and as they mature they sort of evolve into what they want to become, and they stick with it. I was not one of those people. If I can recall correctly, I've wanted to be a veterinarian, doctor, editor, museum curator, astronomist, criminal profiler, and a lawyer throughout the many years. I never really could settle on one thing. Then, the 2016 election happened, and my passion for politics and the legal system was invigorated – and I decided I wanted to go to school for political science, and eventually become a lawyer. My dream: I wanted to work for the President, and I really wanted to be chief of staff.
So, I enrolled in college, got into their political science program, really, truly loved it for about two years. Then, something big happened – I fell out of love with it, and I didn't want to do it anymore.
I had everything planned out, I knew each step and saw the next moves I needed to make from miles away. It was safe, easy, and I would've done really well. So, while I'm trying to wrap my head around pursuing something I really want, I'm left without a plan, let alone any clues or next steps. I've had to rearrange my entire life, and I was, and have been, beyond scared to make any significant changes because I'm worried that I'm going to wake up one of these days having made a huge mistake.
Through all of this, I've been a giant ball of stress, anxiety, and fear, all because I failed to realize one, seriously important thing: I have plenty of time. I'm not even 20 yet, why do I feel like I'm running out of time?
I feel like society pushes this expectation on young kids to be certain of what they want when they leave high school, graduate college in four years, immediately go into their respective careers, and be successful and settled down by twenty-five. As I'm reaching twenty, I realize how unbelievably unrealistic that is. Schools nowadays are factories, churning out carbon copies and not allowing a whole lot of room for passion and creativity – how are you supposed to know what career you want when you're not even considered an adult yet, by a society that inhibits creativity and following your dreams?
I have been, and still am, completely petrified at the thought of leaving my comfortable, guaranteed law career and following my dreams. I have always wanted to write, and I've been a writer since I knew what words were, but everything I've gone through in life has conditioned me to believe that it's not a substantial and sufficient career, and I won't be able to support myself. And, in a way, it's kind of true. Law was such an easy, safe bet for me, and I'm taking a huge risk because writing can be kind of unstable and uncertain. I have no idea what my future holds anymore, and it's pretty scary, but I keep reminding myself of how much time I truly have, and how unbelievably young I still am. Expecting myself to have it all together before I even turn twenty is toxic and has done nothing but keep me from following the dream I've, in a way, always had, and I'm done letting it stop me.
My point is, though, that I could wake up three years from now and decide to do law again and be absolutely fine. School will always be there, and until I die I will always have time to go back to school and venture into a new career. It's okay to be young and not have a clue what your future holds; this mindset that you have to be successful by twenty-five is ridiculous. Take some time to figure yourself out, do whatever you need to do, whether that be taking time off school or otherwise. Do not compromise yourself for the sake of society, because society would never compromise itself for you. Patience, perseverance, and taking part in the things you are truly passionate about will always steer you in the right direction, no matter what.