What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

ANNIKA WALLANDER | FEATURES COLUMNIST

The collegiate existential question of all time: What will you do when you graduate? Beginning right away during your freshman year of high school, you were bombarded with the questions concerning your future that may or may not still haunt you to this day. Consequentially, before almost any sort of school break, you would get home from a variety of long class lectures pertaining to things like Social Darwinism, the complexities of solving the Pythagorean theorem, and evaluating the efforts of Shakespearean classics, and at those big family meals always be asked: Where do you want to go to college? What do you want to do? It probably felt like everyone expected you to know what you wanted to do, more so what you wanted to be when you grew up. With the ‘click to the death’ attitude of many class hungry students upon us, in what we know as registration, you may feel suffocated from the expectation of knowing what you want to do. Remember something you don’t have to know what you want to do or be when you grow up.

Teachers in high school try and advance their students in high school, and start from the beginning of your freshman year with a friendly push of motivation to direct you towards the path of education. Statistics are usually embedded within the content of all seminars on what GPA’s are acceptable for college apps, what extracurricular activities you should engage in to get into said colleges, and what ACT score will allow you to study the field of your dreams. Yet, many high school students don’t know what they want to do. Many students don’t have a picture as to what they will be doing when they are thirty, and because of this, we panic. We begin to feel pressured to achieve the unimaginable for an unknown goal. When our high school careers prevail, we get into college. Still, we are bombarded with further pressures to consolidate our dream meters to one field that we can potentially pursue. For those who have an idea of what occupation they want, they also feel the pressures of achieving.

What I want to ask you all is, why are we so concerned with what to be when we grow up? The phrase, “I want to be…when I grow”, is not the way to guide your future decisions. An occupation does not define the human being. It is the human that defines an occupation. It is the time you spent hunched over textbooks, metabolizing material in class, and the devotion you made to defining yourself through your own ideas. Do not let the apprehension of the future deter you from your dreams. Instead of asking: What do I want to be? Ask: What do I want to do to that will allow me to impact a community with my great skills? Focus your curiosity to the future, to how you will impact lives, because whether you know it or not, you will be great some day.

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