Dear Uncertain College Student

When I Grow Up I Want To Be... Employed.I’d bet good money that we’ve all been asked the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question at some point in our lives. I went through an awkward stage during my early teenage years when I responded to the question with, “I want to be an actuarial scientist.” After I learned that actuaries essentially do statistics problems all-day, every day to determine life expectancy, I decided that the career path wasn’t for me. My other childhood dreams—movie star, professional baseball player, professional Game Boy player—didn’t seem practical. In short, as I “grew up” I knew that I would one day need a job, but I didn’t know what the job would be.

For college students there is a lot of pressure to know what you want to do in life and how you are going to make it happen. After all, you are paying thousands of dollars to study your interests full-time. The reality is that many students still don’t know the answer to that question. If that is the case for you, do not panic!

Until last year, I still wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do with my life. This made planning for the future extremely difficult. Then, I had a “Eureka!” moment. I was doing PR for an organization and learned about engagement through social media, combining two of my interests into one super-interest. An internship confirmed that I finally knew what my new dream job was.

If you are still deciding on a career path, continue to become involved in campus organizations and help plan events. The variety of positions on executive boards means you can experiment and try new things in your field of interest. My moment of clarity came late into my junior year of college—the moment will eventually come to you too.

For people that are already on a career path, realize how lucky you are to know what you want to do. As spring break approaches, many of us college students are applying to jobs and internships all over the place. Having a clue about at least your field of interest greatly helps in the job search process.

I’m curious—have you had a “Eureka!” moment of your own? If so, at what point in your life did it happen? Make sure to leave a comment below to let me know!

All the best,
Andrew

About Andrew Grojean

Andrew is a Social Media Manager at a digital marketing agency in KC, interested in all things social media, pop culture, sports, and technology.

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8 comments

  1. Well, the facts of today’s economy is that even if you go to law school or medical school, you may not do the job that you’ve been trained to do. You have to be flexible and acquire skills and knowledge that you can make use of as you go along in your career. The fact is that most people have job titles that aren’t included in a college career occupational fact sheet. And who knows if you’ll be happy in your job or whether it will even exist ten years from now? Best to prepare yourself, get the best education you can afford, get work and internship experience and be open to opportunities that come your way.

    One of my favorite questions is to ask people, say, over 30, what their college degree was. Nine times out of ten, it has nothing to do with what they are currently doing for work. That doesn’t mean that their education wasn’t worth the time, effort and money just that you have to be flexible to adapt to a changing occupational landscape. I know art history majors who became brokers, a chemistry major who went on to handle company mergers and acquisitions. Life isn’t a straight path but one with a lot of curves, with forks in the road where you just have to make a decision and hope it’s the right one.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response Liz! You made a great point that many of the subjects we are studying in college will be completely different in ten years. That should also offer hope for those that are still undecided–no matter what one’s degree is, being flexible and open to opportunities is crucial and will (hopefully) open doors. I appreciate your insight!

  2. One day you know for sure, that you only want to do a job that you very much like to do. And this has nothing to do with a career. The better if it fits, but at the end it’s not important at all.

  3. Michelle Gilstrap

    Andrew,
    Great insight! Always do something that you love doing and you will be happy. I have made several different career changes due to the market changes that our country has experienced. Recessions, upturns, downturns etc. My Journalism degree has served me well in every job, because I’m a good writer, I have never had an issue with writing. Good writers are coveted in any profession.
    Getting along with people and enjoying your job will help you be a winner no matter what you do.

    • I’m glad that my professors were telling the truth when they said writing skills are crucial in any job. It’s great that you were able to use your degree in all of your careers Michelle. I’ll keep your advice in mind, thanks!

  4. Great topic, Andrew! I was about 30 when I had a “re-Eureka” moment. I knew what I wanted to do when I was in high school, but, chose to pursue an alternate career. Several years later, an old friend reentered my life, and I suddenly realized I had always known what I wanted to do! It took some reminders from my past to make that connection.

    I have come to realize that things seem to happen for a reason, in their own time. Certain people appear, circumstances converge — suddenly, things make sense that hadn’t before. As Liz mentioned, life isn’t as “linear” as some of us would like it to be!

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