Now this is something most people start seriously pondering when they reach high school. Probably because they do not stop pushing it down your throat that you need to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life at the ripe young age of 15-18. I remember going through this exact same thing when I was in the stage of preparing for college. As a senior in college reflecting back, here are a few things that I've learned.
You can't predict the future.
Things are always changing which effects the colleges you go to and majors you're in. And anyone who tells you that everything will turn out the exact way you planned it, they are deluded or made some deal with a crossroad demon. Now that's not to say some people manage to do this, but from personal experience my plans have been changed many times. From what college I was going to, to if I was an in-class student or an online-student. Plans change so you have to be able to adapt to whatever life throws or doesn't throw at you.
Other things that come up are once in a lifetime opportunities, major world changes, and changes in interest. As for world changes, I mean more along the lines of there are new jobs taking over ones that weren't there before. Think about the world of social media. Who would've predicted the tide changing on MySpace to Facebook to all the new platforms we have today? At the time, you would've said that was crazy because everyone was using MySpace at the time for anything you could think of. Then Facebook took off and everyone left one website for another.
So what do we do with this Mae? To simply put it, we shouldn't focus on the future but the here and now. Because that's all we can effect. So go on adventures, learn new things, create things out of nothing, and make friends along the way. And whatever happens happen. But at least you know, you didn't waste your time worrying about what's to come.
You don't have to have it all figured out.
This goes with you can't predict the future. But you're not going to have it all figured out. 50%-70% of students will change their majors at least once, while the average college student will change their major at least three times before they graduate according to Purdue. Personally I changed my major technically twice, and I am still not done yet with college. So don't worry if you don't know what major you want to be in, just have a general idea and take introduction classes in a variety of things before you pick. And even then, be okay with the thought that you might change it even then.
And even after you finish college, you're still going to be asked that same question you hated in high school. "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" You're not going to have the answer, just questionable stepping stones that you have to decide if you follow them or make up your own path along the way. It's not going to be clear and you might fail a few times, but that's ok. It's a learning experience. And you'll figure things out one step at a time.
Build something from nothing.
Now I'm not saying to become a god, but to become an inventor/founder/creator of something. Do things that matter to you where you can look back and say you accomplished something. If you like art, it can be as simply as making a sketch every day. If you like web design, make your own web application and share it to others. If you like writing, start your own blog. If you like film, make YouTube videos. Just do something that you can work on or post regularly. You never know where it will lead you. And maybe one day you'll look at it and say, "I built that and I'm proud." This is something many people can't say. But something to go along with this, just celebrate any little success you have along the way and keep your expectations realistic. And like investments if you put a your money into it, it will grow in value over time.
- Mae Polzine