What Do I Want to be When I Grow Up?

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When you’re younger, that’s the question everyone asks you. No matter how old you are, you’re expected to have an answer. When you’re little, the answer can be anything, as long as you have an idea. Then in high school, the question becomes more pressing. In college, it takes on reality and suddenly you’re deciding what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.

At age 18 or 20, how are you supposed to have any idea of what you want to do with your life? No offense but at that age you don’t know anything. You think you do, but trust me you don’t. It doesn’t matter though. You pick a major because you have to and you graduate with some kind of degree.

That’s what I did. I did everything I was supposed to. Now fast forward to almost two years out of college. I don’t have a job and I have no idea what to do next. I graduated with a degree in sociology, a career field, it turns out, that I have no interest in pursuing. I graduated when I was 21. How was I supposed to know? Just like how am I supposed to know now?

What are my strengths? I’ve gotten an A in every class I’ve ever taken. What are my interests? Well, right now I’m interested in fitness and nutrition but the path to pursuing a degree in those areas is near impossible due to my social science undergrad background.

I don’t want a job that six months from now has me hating life or a master’s degree with the same usefulness as my bachelor’s degree (approximately zero). On the other hand, I need to do something. I hate when people ask me what I’m up to these days and I have to answer “nothing”.

Apparently a quarter-life crisis is now a thing, so at least I’m not alone. It’s just frustrating to have worked so hard to end up with nothing to show for it. It’s scary to be at a crossroads with no idea what direction to take next. And it’s daunting to know that whatever your next decision is better be the right one because you can’t afford to make another mistake.

How did you decide what to do with your life? Or are you still figuring it out like me?

More articles by Anna Nickels

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