How many times has someone asked you about your future aspirations?
Subsequently, how many times have you frantically blanked out, trying to search for something to say?
Fear not – I can guarantee you that almost everyone has been in that position before, myself included. A couple of months ago, I was at a large gathering, and suddenly I was bombarded with questions from around the table – “How’s school?” “Where do you want to go for university?” “What do you want to major in?” “What are your career goals?” – and while these comments are harmless, it does put you in an strange situation.
Afterwards, I found myself wondering exactly what it was that I wanted in life – which led to a fruitful discussion (inside my mind, of course) about where I was going and the dreams I would pursue.
When you’re a teen, it’s very difficult to establish a solid plan about the future.
You’ve only experienced so much, and there’s a lot to the world that you haven’t explored. But you might find that having a general idea, no matter how vague it is, will benefit you and make your goals more direct. It helps you figure out what to focus on, what steps to take, and most importantly, the mark you hope to make in society. None of this means you need to have a 100% solidified idea, but just starting to consider elements of this topic definitely has its benefits.
For example, it may help you choose which extracurriculars to focus on to gain experience in that field. One of my friends is adamant on becoming a stem cell researcher, so he devotes his time to chemistry and biology, and looks for internships in that area. Another one of my dear comrades (who’s now in university, majoring in Political Science) was particularly interested in politics and international relations, so her focus in high school was Model United Nations and debate. By honing in on your passions and dedicating time to these activities, you’ll gain valuable attributes that will help you later on in your career, and you’ll also grow as an individual.
By honing in on your passions and dedicating time to these activities, you’ll gain valuable attributes that will help you later on in your career, and you’ll also grow as an individual.”
Taking part in these activities has personally helped me in more ways than one. I’m learning as an individual, and I’ve also made some of my closest friendships from them. By finding a group of people who have similar interests as you do, it’s much easier to meet like-minded individuals who you then form tightly-knit bonds with (a new kinship, anyone?).
These people will push you to your limits, motivate you, and support you at the same time – and who knows, maybe all we need is a little encouragement.
Careful consideration will also prompt you to open conversation with your parents, friends, counsellors, and anyone else that’s available – about work, university, school… the possibilities are endless. You might also find that having these meaningful discussions will inspire you to explore different opportunities, try some hands-on work, and bond with those around you.
To put it simply, starting to ask yourself questions about the future and exploring different activities that relate to your interests will spark your goals and make them that much more achievable.
So the next time one of your relatives asks you: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you’ll have an answer. Remember, dreams don’t work until you do!