It’s kindergarten. The teacher is going around the class and asking each student what they would like to be when they grow up. Classic professions—veterinarian, teacher, doctor and astronaut—echo around the classroom. When the teacher gets to one student, she says she doesn’t know, and she becomes the only kindergartener who doesn’t have a dream job.
It’s seventh grade. The teacher told the class that this year’s English class would be different—longer novels, book reviews and grammar review. He didn’t say one of the assignments would be to complete an online personality test that should tell students what future job would fit them best. The same kindergartener, just a little older now, fills it out, but she doesn’t look at the result.
It’s senior year. The guidance counselors have met with all of the seniors including the same girl. She’s toured a few colleges and her Common Application is pretty much finished. There’s only one question left: what is their career interest? She’s left it blank for the past three months, refusing to scroll down and choose “Undecided.” She’s supposed to know what she wants to do with the rest of her life. What’s happened?
For many seniors, these scenarios are scary but realistic. The pressure on students to decide on a major and pick a college is ever-present. Many students spend their K-12 education trying to get the best possible grades with the intention of getting into college so that eventually, they can get a good job.
Despite pressure from teachers and guidance counselors who use every accessible tool to assist students in making such life-altering decisions, some students are left with no clue about what they want to do in the future.
Whether this is the result of being unable to narrow down interests to just one field or feeling like the right career is inaccessible or unrealistic, students still face the pressure of balancing schoolwork, college planning and future life goals.
However, it will be OK. The seniors on The Courier staff are familiar with this pressure. Throughout high school, we’ve had periods of knowing exactly what we want to do with our lives, and we’ve had periods of being so terrified that we’ll never be happy with the career we end up in or the college we will eventually attend. Some students do know what they want to do with their lives and that’s awesome, but not knowing is OK too.