I Don’t Know What I Want to be When I Grow Up


Now that I am a senior, the question I hear often from friends, family, teachers, and even complete strangers is, “What are you going to do next year?”

“Well, I plan to attend a university,” I tell whoever is asking this time.

“And what are you going to study?”

I click off everything I’m considering majoring and minoring in, which likely sounds rehearsed because I’ve had this conversation so many times.

My point? I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and that’s okay.

A lot of students feel like they are under pressure to figure out, ASAP, what they want to do when they grow up.

Even some of our most influential role models, our teachers, didn’t know what they wanted to do entering college.

“I had an idea,” says English teacher Trev Wood. “I wanted to be a game warden.”

Going into college, Wood knew he wanted to do something with science and the outdoors, but after one year he changed his mind because he wanted to work with young people, and he found a passion in language arts.

“I’m a firm believer that something is going to pop up for you. You’ve just got to be patient,” Wood says. “A senior in high school not knowing what they’re going to do is perfectly normal.”

Spanish teacher Ryan Beardall started college with the plan of becoming a history teacher.

“After I went on a mission and learned Spanish, I came back and went to college again,” says Beardall. “I still was studying history and decided I still wanted to teach history, but as a minor, and then I changed my major to be Spanish because I enjoyed teaching Spanish.”

Beardall believes that it can be beneficial for a student to know what they want to do when they go into college, but does not think it’s necessary for success.

“Yes and no,” he says. “Yes, because if they know, they can know what they should study in high school to give them an idea if that’s what they want to do. But on the same token, they’re going to go to college and discover all of these new things. There are jobs that we don’t even have existing right now.”

A study done by the Education Advisory Board found that students who declare their final major during the first term of their second year have the highest graduation rate at 84 percent, compared with a 79 percent graduation rate for those who declare their major at the beginning of their first year.

So many opportunities exist out there, and so many jobs will arise that you’ve never even heard of, that you don’t have to know what you’re going to do as you enter college. You’ll know when you’re ready to know.