Student Guest Blogger: Career and Future Uncertainty

I’ve shared this blog with some of my students, an attempt to showcase how writing is “real” for me.  As far as blogging goes, many students use Tumblr.  I’ll admit I’ve never explored Tumblr, but they describe it as a platform to share images and thoughts.  Sounds like a blog to me.  How sustained those thoughts are…I’m not sure.  Unfortunately, it’s fairly rare to find kids who use technology to compose what I consider to be more meaningful writing such as essays, commentary, and reviews.

So, here goes.  I collaborated with one of my digital storytelling students, a junior, via Google Docs, and this is what she had to say about dealing with her own and others’ expectations for her future and career prospects.  She’ll be the first one to check the comments section, so please give her some feedback!

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”

– George Harrison.

Can you ever be certain of the road ahead?

Young people shouldn’t be so dead set on long term goals, as your decisions aren’t carved in a stone tablet.  You’re not able to be certain of anything in your future.  Certain questions just loom over you like a storm cloud.  What will you be when you grow up?  Where do you see yourself after high school?

When you’re young you think, what do I enjoy? What do I like to do?

These questions still bounce around my mind like I’m dead center in a dodgeball game.  I now find myself introduced to a feeling of ambition, a feeling I have yet to fully understand.  I’ve dreamt about being an astronaut, a doctor, maybe even a lawyer.  I have dreamt for the stars, developed a certain level of hope that things might work out if I believed they would, but is it realistic?

I’ve had everyone from my first grade English teacher to my middle school Math teacher press me to answer the question about what I’d do as an adult, but the only thing I could do was fabricate a response.  All I kept thinking when they would settle those straining eyes on me was that I couldn’t possibly give them a completely honest answer.  I’ve never settled on one thing and stuck with it for such a long time.  I’d never put all my eggs in one basket because life can’t really be so black and white, so cut and dry.

The question about my future continued to follow me into my prepubescent stages of my teenage years as well, as my once ambitious hopeful dreams became “within reach.” I wanted to be a doctor as a child but decided that being a nurse would be good enough. Being a nurse does mean less time studying in college, but it means settling for a career path that wouldn’t give me the same satisfaction or happiness.

The hopeful dream of becoming a doctor still lingers in the shadows of reality but it seems like too big of a challenge, too overwhelming.   I don’t think anyone truly has an idea what they’ll be doing with their career path at five, twelve or even seventeen.

What do we do about college?  How can we make this dream a reality?  Can I trust that I know what my passion really is?

Granted, some of my classmates will fulfill their own childhood dreams. Some will actually go on to be doctors and lawyers. The lucky few find what they enjoy as a child, learn the basics and stay with it until they become the best. It’s odd how that works but sometimes people just know what they love to do. It’s almost like destiny picks and chooses who gets lucky opposed to who gets the short end of the stick.

Personally, I can’t answer these questions at this point in my life. I could try to think these through and make all the right, logical moves, but regardless of my attempts, life will lead me down a certain path.

Expect the unexpected. Personally, this means life will bring you surprises and throw you curve balls. You as an individual learn to adapt–things in life will teach you to be resilient because time is a very misleading thing.  There’s no past and there’s no future.  We can learn from the past but we cannot relive it; we can plan for the future but we can never be sure that there is one.

As readers, what advice can you give me?  How has your career path unfolded?  Did you experience the same hounding that I have, regarding what I should do down the road?  Thanks for reading!


  1. I ended up in a career that I don’t even think I knew about when I was in high school, and I really enjoy it. You might be surprised what paths you end up taking. If I trace back to where I started from where I am now, it began with a job I took to support myself while I was developing what I thought I wanted to do.

    I also realized after a while that I was in a highly competitive field – and, quite honestly, based on my progress (or lack thereof), I could tell that I wasn’t going to have much of a career in that field. So being realistic about what you’re capable of, and focusing on what you can do well, is important as well. It’s fine to chase your dreams and all that, but at some point you have to take a good look at the realities as well.

    And being able to write well – and enjoying doing it! – is a skill that you can use in many, many occupations, even if your job title isn’t “writer”.

  2. Staying focused on the basics seems easy but its easily complicated. Hoping the rest falls into place is all I can do right now.. And thank you so much for reading this blog post. I’m really glad that you could relate to what I wrote. I hope things work out for the both of us..

  3. Personally, I don’t know where I would flourish best. Percentage wise I fall in to the undecided. Being a writer would make me happy, but is it realistic in today’s economy? I’m interested in medical science but what about tuition and money wise there is no way I can afford college.. ??
    At this point, I’m not sure where I’ll go from here.

  4. Take as many aptitude tests as possible. Get a very good sense of your strengths and weaknesses and learning styles, then try to find work (not jobs, work, paid income) that allows your strengths to flourish. I think far too many people focus on A Job or a Fancy Job instead of where they will really fit in best and do their best work. One third of Americans, like I do, now are self-employed (or permanently temps, contracts workers or part-time.)

  5. How wonderful that you are making self inquiry! Pay attention every year to what excites you and you will be able to tweak your goals toward a career. Trust and listen to yourself.

  6. Great post! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 At 23 and a year out of college, I’m dealing with so many of the same questions, uncertainties, and attempts to just go with the flow. There’s such a fine balance between pursuing your dreams (without knowing if they are REALLY your dreams) and taking life as it comes. It’s been a struggle for me at times, but the best remedy I’ve found is to do what makes you feel good (truly)–I feel best when I eat right and exercise, maintain relationships that being joy into my life, and spend my free time doing what makes me come alive. When that important stuff is taken care of, it’s less bothersome that you’re underemployed, single, and don’t have a clue what you want from life. I’m young and still figuring it all out, but I would say focus on the basics and the rest will fall into place around it.

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