When I was six years old, I was on TV. A reporter came to my elementary school and asked a bunch of kids different questions about themselves. There’s only one question I remember, though. The reporter asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Being in first grade, my options were pretty limited. I answered, “a pilot.” Later that evening when the interview appeared on TV, I watched along with my parents. They laughed at my answer, admiring the little first grader who simply responded with the first answer that came to mind.
I was six years old. Since then, I have probably been asked the same question hundreds of times. Now, 11 years later, still unsure about my future, I answer with “I don’t really know yet.” And I shouldn’t have to.
I’m 17 years old, and I shouldn’t have to know what I want to do in life yet. I still have my entire life in front of me. To expect such a young person to know what they want to do for the rest of their life is beyond unrealistic.
Picking a major shouldn’t be the kind of enormous decision it appears to be. Even before junior year, the questions began: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” “What are you majoring in?” “What job would you like to have?”
I. Don’t. Know.
It’s nearly impossible to know what I want to do in the future. My real world experience is fairly lacking and my knowledge of it is limited to those around me. On top of that, living in Silicon Valley, almost everyone around me is or plans to be working in the field of Computer Science in someway — it’s just about the only job option I’m exposed to. The only career I can claim to be familiar with is Computer Science, but even as I’m surrounded by those who work in the field, I still can’t picture myself as one of them.
There’s so much pressure to choose what I want to do right now but when I think about it, I’m only 17. I should be open to anything at this point. When I see my friends around me already sure about what they want to do, I’m truly shocked. I can’t imagine being so set on my future at such a young age.
I have far too many interests at this point to know what I want to do. I love writing, photography and music, but at the same time I also enjoy more STEM related subjects like biology. I can’t be expected to make this decision at this point. It’s simply unrealistic. And to those who think they know what they want to do, chances are, they don’t.
It shouldn’t be an expectation that we know what we want to do. It’s unrealistic. We should be taking our time to understand more about ourselves and what we want to do. We shouldn’t be pressured into making a decision just because others are saying to do so.