I am a senior in college now. Somehow three years flew by. I graduate next year with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a minor in public health. And here’s the thing- I still don’t know exactly what I want to do.
Growing up I wanted to be many things- a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher etc. but never went down a single track towards one profession. I entered college thinking I wanted to do biology. Halfway through I took an economics course, fell in love with it, and switched majors. And this is a two-sided deal. On one hand, economics literally applies to everything from business to international affairs to global health. So I am not holed into one specific field or job. On the other hand, it makes it difficult to decide my post-graduation route. Those who study nursing or civil engineering, know they’ll likely become a nurse or civil engineer, respectively. Life is a bit trickier for us economics/social science majors in this sense. (Sometimes I am jealous of these nursing and engineering majors).
Some days I want to be applying economics to fields like market research. Other days I want work in alumni development for a university. Sometimes I want to be behind a computer doing data analysis and programming. And some days, I want to put everything in storage, grab my suitcase, and try my hand at travel blogging. Rarely, but sometimes, I consider taking the financial plunge and applying to grad school. At the “Senior Career Kickoff” event a few days ago, I took pamphlets about almost every industry from consulting to international development. The problem is not that I don’t know what I’m interested in or lack interest- it’s that I have too many!
After talking with my mom I did learn that in the scheme of things, my first job does not matter all that much. It will not dictate the rest of my life and people wear many “hats” (aka careers) in their lifetime. But right now, it seems so important. While the fear of unemployment looms, right now it’s the stress of applying to the right job/industry/place. Maybe it’s idealistic but I want to wake up to a job I enjoy and sleep knowing I’m working towards something I’m passionate about and is contributing to the world.
In the next few months I have time to think on all of this and be simultaneously proactive in using the career center etc. And maybe do a little soul-searching in between. For now, my eyes, ears, and heart are open to what’s out there here, and in the world. And I will never forget that I am blessed for the opportunity of school and to be graduating from a great university in the heart of an amazing city.
A professor, who is in the more mature part of his amazing extensive career, once joked with me “I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.” And right now, I don’t know either. I’m learning to be okay with that. Perhaps his attitude is one we all need to adopt. Because life is always about learning, growing, and exploring about yourself and the world.
Perhaps The Maine’s song “Un[lost]” says, it best:
“Unaware of where I’m going
Or if I’m going anywhere at all
But I know I’ll take the leap
If it is worth the fall
So long as the blood keeps flowing
I’ll set a sail and swim across
I’m not looking to be found
Just want to feel (un) lost”