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Rams’ Rede: Misdirection

Rams’ Rede,

I am a senior who is graduating in like a month. At this point in my life, I feel like I’m supposed to know what I want to do and what I want to be when I “grow up.” But, I have no idea; I came into college as an undeclared major and ended up getting my English degree because I didn’t know what else to do. What happens when you grow up and you still have no idea what to be?

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-Confused and Unemployed

 

Dear Confused,

You’re young. You’re in your prime. And you still have no idea what you’re doing.

Here’s a secret: no one else knows what they’re doing either.

We are in our early 20s, and the probability of us choosing anything that we will agree with long-term is slim to none. How many people approaching mid-life look back and say that their career is truly the most important thing in their life?

The reason for living shouldn’t be your job. Sure, they say that if you are doing something that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And that’s true; it should be a goal of yours to find something that you love (that will come with time) and find a way to make money at it. But, remember that in the long run, there are more important things that will determine your happiness. Things like being surrounded by a family, and having a hobby and making time for yourself is going to be what makes you happy. Work for the money, but don’t expect that alone to fulfill you.

As for what you should do to get money, that is totally up to you. It sounds like you are just going to have to try trial and error and see what speaks to you. Look around you and see what everyone else is doing, and then ask yourself if you could do that for the foreseeable future.

I may not know what it is that will call to you. But, I do know that when you find it, you’ll know. In my experiences and the experiences of those around me, when you find something that you know you’re meant to do, it’ll just click, and suddenly you can’t picture yourself doing anything else.

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So nothing has clicked for you yet — so what? The whole proposal that we are supposed to have the rest of our lives figured out by the age of 25 is preposterous. People in the middle of their lives still don’t know what they want to do. That is why a career, while undeniably important, is not the most important thing in your life. Rely on other things to fulfill you, and a job with be nothing more than a means to fund what really is important.

In short, don’t worry about not knowing. Sometimes, that’s the fun of the journey. Try a couple things out and if that isn’t your thing, move on to the next one.

If you have the money, maybe take a year and travel. See how other people live and make a living. See places in the world that you wouldn’t be able to if you had a career or intership weighing you down. You have the rest of your life to work, but you have right now to see all the things that a lot of other people can’t. Do the whole backpacking through Europe thing. Meet people in hostels and figure out how many other walks of life people lead. Maybe, through talking to complete strangers, you will find something that speaks to you.

Instead of focusing on the lack of direction that you feel you have, focus on what you have going for you. You have a bachelor’s degree, which is no small feat. You have the experiences of your life thus far. You don’t have anything weighing you down to any specific place. The world is at your fingertips, enjoy it.

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