I feel like I can’t be the only one that knows many people who’ve had their “aha” moment about their career aspirations pretty early on. My own mother knew she wanted to be a doctor since she was thirteen and that is what she is today. One of my best friends has wanted to be a teacher since she first started primary school and she’s currently in her way to get an education degree.
And honestly, I hope when people like them pick up a chocolate chip cookie, it’s actually an oatmeal raisin one. Screw them. I’m kidding, I’m so envious and in awe of people (I also take back my cookie curse, that’s just cruel) that figure it all out early on and then actually reach that end goal because I believe that for most people, figuring out a career takes some time, exploration, and maybe even some trial and error.
I’m definitely in that latter group and I’ve embraced that it’s completely okay! Personally, my interests have always been broad - I’ve wanted to be marine biologist and artist simultaneously, a photographer-doctor hybrid, and a pastry chef and scientist extraordinaire. And while these interests in the realms of science and the fine arts have evolved and narrowed down to the biological sciences and creative, I have found it difficult to amalgam them into a foreseeable future career path.
I think that part of the challenge of combining science and art is that on the surface, they seem so different. Furthermore, finding individuals to look up to that have combined creative writing and science are few and diverse. But the fact that William Carlos Williams, Rachel Carson, and others exist is inspiring to see that such a dream is possible, because I know I can’t only pursue science or only writing. So that’s why I’m doing both!
And so, to all of my lovely readers who are struggling to answer the question of what you aspire to do and be, it’s okay to not completely know. However, try to develop and blossom your interests into passions by seeking related opportunities and experiences, and finding sources of inspiration in individuals who have forged or are beginning to forge paths within your interests. Taking initiative to learn about yourself through your interests is integral to forming at least a wispy idea of a career aspiration and more importantly, may lead you to an actual fulfilling career.
Now I’m still on this journey, so I can’t say I know exactly what I want to do, but with each coming year, I have been able to form a better idea and I’m confident I’ll create my niche. As your chair for Special Projects, I would love to collaborate with SfW’s Career Development to try to have a designated meeting or event to focus on individuals who have pursued unique career paths and/or have a discussion on how to bridge the gap between interests and a career, because I really do think these are relevant issues many college students struggle with. And as always, I am always open and here to talk such issues on a more personal level, so feel free to reach out!
So, own and go for what you love and are interested in and everything else will follow (including all the chocolate chip cookies).