Keep searching for dream career
We’ve heard it time and time again ever since we were kids: ”What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Counselors and parents and family members all bombarded us with the question, secretly hoping we’d say doctor or lawyer or maybe even future president. And as kids, we all wanted to be something else. But we were only children who had no idea what the future would hold.
Now, in high school, I hear every single day people talking about their futures. Some seniors don’t even have a career picked out yet. Some have stuck with their same choice since elementary school. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, there’s only what you feel is best for you.
Society looks down on people who are somewhat clueless in their plans for the future. But a blueprint for the future is just that. You won’t know exactly what you’re going to do or how you’re going to do it. A blueprint is an outline. It’s OK if you don’t know.
If only everyone else realized that.
I remember attending an assembly one day in sixth grade. A couple of firefighters came in and talked to us about choosing a career later in life. They were talking about how a very small fraction of kids actually become what they said they would be when they were a kid. I had scoffed at the accusation; how dare they say that? I would become a veterinarian and prove them wrong!
Well, I thought I would. From the time I was in third grade, I remember each and every time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I always responded with, “I want to be a veterinarian.”
But I was just a kid! What did I know? I don’t like blood or medical tools, and I’m uncomfortable around needles and injuries. How could I be a veterinarian? When I got to junior high, I finally realized that I would have to euthanize the animals as part of my job. That was my breaking point. So in my time of vulnerability, I started leaning toward becoming a lawyer. This too, fell through quickly.
So what would I do now?
For a few years, I would answer this classic question with a simple, “I don’t know.” But ever since getting to high school, that answer isn’t as widely accepted anymore. Every week, I hear, “Prepare for college! Get your career together!”
Admittedly, I was stuck. I emailed my brother, who decided what he was going to do a long time ago. He told me, “You need to pick a job that correlates with the things you like to do. That way, it doesn’t feel like a job.”
It’s good advice, but for me, there was just one problem. Everything I like to do is creative. Things like writing or animating don’t pay very well unless you hit a pot of gold. There’s a reason a person in this type of work is called “a starving artist.”
But that doesn’t mean you don’t try. Part of me knows that this is what I’m supposed to do. In ninth grade, I was voted “Most Likely to Publish a Novel.” Maybe it was just a dumb contest, but for me, it felt like winning a million dollars. Was it possible that I could become an author? It felt real at the time. Writing and drawing are the only things that I would actually like to do some day. It’s going to be a lot harder than becoming a veterinarian, but I think I’m ready to take that chance.
Which is what life is all about. You need to take risks and live life to the fullest, because the things that make you happy are the things you should cherish. Whether it be winning a case or curing a disease or even selling a book, you should make your life yours. And the choice to do so starts right now.
Taylor Jenkins is a junior at Weber High School who loves to write. If you have questions or want to chat, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.