According to Disney Channel movies, high school is supposed to be a time to “find yourself.” Through a set of highly unrealistic, miraculous events, these characters somehow manage to rise up from the ashes of their mistakes and find their purpose through song.
Unfortunately, life is never that clean.
Life is full of unpredictable ups and downs, and high school students can’t expect to just suddenly have an epiphany about exactly how their life is going to go.
However, with the imminent choices of colleges and even careers hanging around, many students feel pressure to have just that. Incessant tests, college applications, studying, ACTs, SATs and everything else surrounding the transition into the adult world forces young people into thinking they need to have everything planned out for their entire college career and after.
This is an unrealistic expectation.
While having a direction in mind is extremely important, there is a huge possibility this direction will change as you mature and learn more about your interests. According to Purdue.edu, 80 percent of college students are unsure of what their major should be, and 50 percent of graduated students changed their major at least once.
Picking your college major is not a huge, life-changing decision. Nothing has to be set in stone until you are ready to decide. For now, focus on the experience. Take classes you like in high school. Work hard for your goals. And for those of you graduating this year, use your time in college to do the same.
Most importantly, stop putting all of this unnecessary pressure on yourself.
I am guilty of it, too, but you will be much happier if you realize you don’t have to know all the details of what your life will be. If you just stay true to what you want — not what others tell you to want — you can find a future to support that. Even if your career doesn’t end up involving that, it can still be a part of your life, so don’t dismiss your dreams as useless or impractical. What you want matters.
Don’t force yourself into a specific choice yet — keep it general, and give yourself wiggle room. Chances are, you will end up somewhere different than you originally thought. Countless jobs exist that most people haven’t even heard of. With hard work and determination, you will go places.
Remember — even if you never get that magical Disney moment of clarity, your future isn’t ruined. There’s time to change your mind. If you stick to what you want and persevere in high school, you will find success in the most unlikely of places.