Here’s a little story for you:
It was winter break, and I had just completed my third semester of college. I was back home sitting on my parents couch feeling extremely anxious. The part of me that should have been excited that my exams were over and I was back with my family hid behind the moment I had procrastinated for all three semesters..
I still had not chosen a college major.
According to the University I attended — based on my credit amount — it was time to make a decision. I couldn’t procrastinate the decision any longer even if I wanted to. Now, I realize that you can choose a major and always change it in the future, but for someone like me who was paying their way through college, each additional course would leave me with a financial burden I was unequipped to handle.
Determined to make the perfect decision, I began to do some research.
The University had these Bulletin books they called ’em, and they gave information on every major, and the classes you would need to take to complete the degree. I decided to go through this book and circle every major I was interested in, disregarding all logistical factors that came with each. My pen suddenly became a young child — so optimistic and curious — as it circle a plethora of different options to explore. I wish I still had the book so I could show you I had everything circled from Apparel Merchandising to Neurology and even Engineering.
It didn’t matter to me that I didn’t have a unique fashion style, perfect grades, or was good at any math passed some intermediate algebra — these subjects interests me.. But, these things mattered to everyone else. It wouldn’t make sense to the world to see someone enroll in such courses that they didn’t physically see a fit with. AKA, my lack of fashion or 4.0 gpa would raise concern for wanting to go into anything fashion or medicine.
I didn’t have anything I was specifically really good at. My grades were decent, I was a decent athlete, my style was decent.. Everything I did was decent. I used to joke to my friends that my only talent was being decently good at everything. But this didn’t make me feel good at all. In fact, it was a miserable feeling, always feeling like the underdog to the ones who were great at a specific topic or activity. I was “A jack-of-all-trade and a master of none”.
The idea of having one big, life changing passion can make you feed pretty crummy if you haven’t found it yet and put you under pressure to find it.
In my opinion, the education system is too focused on kids finding a specialty. How many times as a child did you hear, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you didn’t have an answer, there usually followed a test to help you figure that out. And as we get older that question goes from being a fun exercise in daydreams to a more serious, more anxiety-inducing question for many of us.
“The problem isn’t so much in what’s said, but in what’s not said. The question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” implies that you have to be one thing. One, as in singular.” – Emilie Wapnick of Puttylike.com.
So when I had to sit down and choose a major that I thought would determine what I would do for the rest of my life, I had a panic. I could not choose.. But it wasn’t the kind of “I don’t know what I like or want to do” panic. There were too many things I liked and wanted to do. How could I limit myself to just one thing?
Not all of us are born with one main interest or passion. I believe — thanks to the help of Ted talks — you can have many. You can have seeds of interests waiting to sprout, but they won’t grow without watering them. AKA, you might not know you’re callings yet until you begin to explore all that interests you, and really giving them a try. You can’t just sit alone in a dark room and decide what your passion is.
Sure, some people are happy choosing a career, and committing to a specific path. But many of us simply aren’t wired this way. We have so many interests and we’re good at a lot of different things. And you know what? That’s okay… It’s not all that abnormal too.
So, back to my story — I’m sure you’ll all wondering what I chose, right? Well, I ended up a Communication and Hospitality Management student. Not my passion, but my life is not limited to careers only in this field — and that’s the beauty of it all. We need to remember that.
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein
Some days I want to be Big Data Analyst who can recognize patterns and trends that no one else can, and other days I want to get a pilots license and start a helicopter tourist company. On a smaller scale, some days I enjoy learning about other languages and the stock market — and others I enjoy picking up my calligraphy pens or gardening tools.
I still may not know what I want to do with my life, but exploring all my interests may help get me somewhere.