“What do you want to do after school?” “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
I’m sure that most of you have heard those words before. Been pestered with these questions since you were a kid, when all you wanted to be was an artist because you drew the most badass landscape with a sun in the corner of the page (you know the ones I’m talking about). Maybe you were going to become a singer because Singstar told you that you could sing just as well as Avril Lavigne or Beyoncé. You wanted to be a palaeontologist (even though you couldn’t pronounce the word) because you watched Jurassic Park and why wouldn’t you want to bring back dinosaurs?
As you got older your ideas of what you wanted to be changed. You may have wanted to become a teacher because your primary school teacher was the loveliest person you knew and you wanted to be just like her.
Next you wanted to be a pilot or a video game designer because is there anything cooler? Imagine flying through the skies visiting all the places you could ever dream of or creating the next best game that all your friends would played!
Well you’re now mid-high school and teachers and adults are always throwing around the term ‘your future,’ telling you how crucial what you’re doing now is for your future lives and future jobs. Your friends are all starting to get ideas of what they want to do after school. The guy who sits next to you is going to become a best-selling author, your best friend dreams of becoming a tattoo artist, others wanted to be engineers, doctors, journalists whereas some plan on designing apps and buildings.
I never had a clear idea of what I wanted to do for most of high school (all through high school if I’m being truly honest). There were always ideas here and there but I could never really picture myself doing any of them ‘for a living.’ I think that the idea of having to choose to study something that I could potentially be stuck with for the rest of my life was what scared me the most, and I think that to certain extent it still does.
I went through everything that I thought I would enjoy but nothing stuck. It became stressful (sometimes annoying) when adults would ask me what I want to study or what I wanted to do after school as my answer was always the same “I’m not sure yet, but its okay I still have time to decide,” reassuring both them and myself. Sometimes I’d receive uncertain nods and smiles but others were nicer, telling me that its okay because they are in their 40s and still don’t know what they want to do. I always liked those answers.
My matric year had arrived and there was still no solid plan. I wasn’t taking a gap year because I didn’t know what I would have done in all that time and I knew that I wanted to go to university. So I started with my applications (the WORST time of my life), I honestly hated it! All the questions about myself, my school, my background and most importantly what I wanted to study. I know it sounds quite unreasonable to have started applying to universities when I didn’t necessarily have a clear idea of what I was going to study. But it made sense to me and I am quite thankful that I did it. In the end I applied for a few things: a general Bachelor of Arts (with a hope of doing psychology); a Bachelor of Arts with a law major (as well as an LLB, depending on the university); a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Biomedical Engineering (I was rejected mid-year because of my Grade 11 marks) and lastly a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry.
Eventually I came to decide that I either wanted to do a general BA or a BA with a law major, thankfully I was accepted for both of these. Now, it’s around a year later and I’ve almost completed my first year of studying a BA (law). It was tough and a lot of the time I wasn’t sure that a belonged…
I was so uncertain that I even considered applying for another course after my first semester because I wanted to do something more ‘technical.’ I planned on doing this by getting into the Biomedical Engineering course which I was rejected from. If that did not work out I would do a BSc, my thoughts were that one of these would ‘challenge’ me as I put it (I was wrong about this because law is challenging me more than enough!). So I did my research on the course and it intrigued me even more than before but, after speaking to people at my university I learned how difficult this degree actually was. It consisted mainly of circuits, and as high school physics taught me this is one of the things that I so deeply loathe. I was also informed that a lot of students who are studying this degree struggle to pass and keep up. This information didn’t completely make my decision for me but it certainly helped, there were a lot of other factors adding to the aversion of my degree. I wasn’t doing as well as should be in my Introduction to Law class and this was definitely demotivating as it is my major. Another reason why I wasn’t satisfied was because I had made the mindless mistake of choosing to take English as a subject! I didn’t like English in school so I don’t even know what made me think I would enjoy it in university!?
So I made a deal with myself, in my second semester I would try and drop English. I was also starting a new subject in the second semester as part of my law course (Law of Persons). The idea was that if I could somehow get rid of English, up my game in Introduction to Law and Law of Persons interesting or see it as something that I would enjoy, then I would stick to what I was doing. If not, then I would once again consider applying for something else.
Along came the second semester. I struggled to change English to something else as other subjects were too full or clashed with my existing timetable. I later learned that I was able to drop English without picking up a new subject because Law of Persons had been added to my syllabus! This was some of the best news that I’d heard in a while. My nerves were running high as I sat in my first Law of Persons lecture, would I enjoy it or not? Well let me tell you, I did enjoy Law of Persons and its currently my favourite subject! I’m still working on doing better in Introduction to Law, but this turn in events has given me the reason to choose to stick with what I’m doing.
I know there was a lot of talk about me in this post but what it has showed me is that it is that its okay if you don’t know what you want to be when you’re older or if you don’t have a solid plan like some of those around you. Its also okay if what you want to do may be considered completely irrational by others because at the end of the day you should be waking up everyday enjoying what you do! I’m still finding my way and figuring it out, I may have made it over this hurdle but I know theres many more ahead waiting for me.