Playing the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” game used to be filled with excitement. Every time, you were guaranteed a different answer selected from an endless list of job titles, including everything from princess to astronaut.
Now, as a young adult, this game can often be discouraging.
The encouragement to follow your heart and do what you love conflicts with the pressure to be successful and have the most zeroes tacked onto the end of your paycheck. With some majors and careers, it is impossible to imagine both coexisting.
When I entered my freshman year, I found myself struggling with this internal conflict. Should I study something that will guarantee me a job with a decent income and a comfortable living or should I pursue something I love, even though the outcome isn’t as predictable?
Ultimately I chose the latter, and I have yet to look back or regret my decision.
That does not mean that I have not encountered my fair share of obstacles or crippling doubt.
When I first began my college career, warnings about the competitiveness of both the journalism field and the publishing industry blinded me from seeing the future I originally envisioned for myself.
The one thing that kept me going were these two little words: What if?
What if I change my major and miss out on my calling? What if I decide to take the easy route and miss out on the life I always wanted for myself?
Living with these questions unanswered scared me more than the expectations and opinions of my peers.
However, with the amount of access and platforms of social media, avoiding these expectations and opinions is impossible. Success becomes a burden that we feel we must advertise on social media so that our followers know, or think they know, we are happy with the lives we have chosen for ourselves.
If you find yourself drowning in this internal conflict, stop thrashing, take a breath, and ask yourself a few questions.
Do you love what you are doing? Do you think you can do it every day for the rest of your life? Will you be able to tell everyone you made the right decision and actually mean it?
Figure out your “What If?” question and find the answer.
We only have one life to live. Why should we dedicate it to living it up to what someone else thinks we should be doing?
Carole Hodorowicz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]