It’s Okay To Be Young And Not Know What You Want

It's Okay To Be Young And Not Know What You Want

Being uncertain about your future is normal, and you have plenty of time to figure it all out.

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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.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.

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In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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