It's a question we hear throughout childhood, and at times, it extends into adulthood. Where are you going? What do you want to do? How will you make a living? You go to school. You earn your degree. And then you are on your own. I never really understood the significance of that progression until I became a parent. I love my children, but one day, I want them to leave home! That's one of the main responsibilities as a parent, isn't it? We are to raise responsible adults who will one day contribute to society.
And that's an important point to note when raising your kids. They may be the nicest, kindest, smartest people you'll ever meet. And those are all commendable and wonderful traits to have. But they are not skills. You must have a skill.
I decided to attend college after high school and went to the University of Missouri. My original intent was to become a Meteorologist. I wanted to be on television and report the weather. After learning that the Atmospheric Science degree required a LOT of math, I decided I would teach about the weather instead. Earth Science Education was major number 2, but I changed my mind again when I didn't agree with the curriculum and didn't feel comfortable after my aiding experience. But I needed to graduate and fast! I had changed my major my senior year and the loans were adding up. The Earth Science Education degree required many courses in Geology, so that was the next logical choice. I earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Geology.
What do I do now? Not Geology! I'm a Financial Aid Coordinator at the School of Medicine. You know, there isn't a major or a degree for financial aid. This is a profession that you just kind of fall into. It does require certain skills however. You must be detail oriented, able to interpret rules and regulations, problem-solver, critical thinker, and work well with others. I learned all of these skills in college but not just in the classroom. I learned them through the college experience. I obtained and fine-tuned these skills through my activities and offices held in my sorority, through the part-time jobs I had, and by living with a diverse group of people. It was the whole college experience that prepared me for adulthood.
I think instead of asking "what do you want to be," the proper question to ask is "what skills do you want to have?" Because the skills you learn are usually far more important than the degree you earn. I'm living proof of that.
"I may not have gone where I intended to go,
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams