What do you want to be when you grow up? That cliché question is circling me like sharks, and lately they have become a little too close for comfort. Ever since we were little we dreamed of becoming somebody important or famous, from firefighter to president to superstar. We saw these iconic and revered professions and aspired to be like them when we were little because we didn’t really have a firm grasp of how huge and diverse our world is compared to the tiny sliver of popular jobs that are plastered in front of us from such a young age. But as we somewhat matured we began to see how many career paths there were, anything you are interested in, there are probably hundreds of jobs in that field. But I see a problem. What happens when you don’t know what you want to do?

As a junior in high school it seems like people expect me to know exactly what I am going to do, where my life is going, what major I am going to study, and what job I am going to get. Seriously people, I am only 16 for God’s sake! I am sorry to society and my elders that I don’t have my future planned out already; I haven’t decided exactly what I want to do. I know people who have dreamed of becoming a doctor for as long as I can remember, and they are in BioScience and preparing themselves for their field. I know people who have just decided this year what career they are going to college for. But here I am, being heckled for my open mindedness. It’s not that I don’t have interests or careers in mind, but instead I can’t find one that I can picture myself enjoying for 30+ years.

College is another question everyone is throwing at me. I have many, probably too many, colleges I would love to attend. But I cannot choose which one I am definitely set to go to. Part of that problem is also not knowing what exactly I am going to major in. Some of my friends and family are heckling me about possibly going into university undetermined, claiming that I’d “be wasting two years of college education for squat”. First of all, the majority of universities do not funnel you into your declared major until 3rd and 4th year, making you take your core classes freshman and sophomore year. The first year or two of college to me is the time to explore different fields of interest and study, to find what interests you. I know many people gasp in horror at the thought of going into a university undeclared, but you know what, those of us who aren’t cemented to a major going in need to be able to explore and get our toes wet.

Why is it that we almost force our youth to determine their futures in high school? We are maturing, hormonal, and sometimes not the best at planning. I do believe that high schoolers should have some direction or a field of study they are interested in going into, but they should not have the pressure to make their decisions that shape their future when they are only teenagers. When I grow up, I want to be able to explore many career choices and be able to find one that suits me even if it wasn’t something I had originally planned.
"College is a refuge from hasty judgement" -Robert Frost