Jelly Beans



Yesterday, I met up with a roommate from college, and we spent a couple of hours catching up over yummy food and scrumptious beer. While it was nice to finally, physically hang out with a person I actually know (even though our meeting was painful realization of my awkwardness--another story for later), I went home feeling slightly down. Somewhere between reminiscing and updating, we started talking about career choices and college, and she mentioned that from the very beginning, she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her degree. Many years of schooling later, she's working her dream job and is extremely happy and passionate about her career.

Don't think I'm jealous, because I am truly, sincerely happy for her and the handful of people who have, early on, figured it out. I'm just wallowing in my indecisiveness. A little bit of history: When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to become a medical doctor. The decision was pretty much influenced by my family, largely composed of doctors and lawyers. At that tender age, I had no concept of how anything really worked, and because I had never seen lawyers in action, I chose the nobler (to me) occupation of saving lives. 

This ambition held up until we moved to the United States, and I discovered (for myself) Chemistry. I was instantly obsessed. I wanted to be a scientist, making stuff out of anything and everything. I took all the Chemistry classes my high school offered. I worked as a TA, prepping lab materials and solutions. My parents didn't quite approve of my love declaration for the science, but they convinced themselves that a B.S. in Chemistry would be great degree for Med School. 

Up until my fourth year of undergrad, I was on the Chemistry track. I had resolved to use my degree to work in a crime lab (thanks, CSI) or in any lab for production. Everything was going well: I took a full load each semester, I got great grades, I was getting good lab results. Then, I happened to take a class on John Milton (just cuz), and  just like that : three years of Chemistry were flushed down the drain. 

I spent the rest of my senior year overloading on English credits not just because I wanted to graduate in record time, but also because I couldn't satisfy my cravings for reading, discussing, researching, and reading some more. It was the first time that I recall not really working towards something. I had no idea what careers English majors undertook after school; I just wanted to keep on doing what I was doing. 

As cheesy as it sounds, I was beginning to see things differently. You have to realize that from my immensely green and sheltered perspective, this was huge. It was at this point that I started questioning everything I was so sure of up until then. It felt awesome. This is partly the reason why I went back to school to get a graduate degree. I wanted to share with students how awesome it felt to be so unsure, to start asking questions, and to find answers for themselves. It turns out, not a whole lot of students care anymore, which, ultimately, turned me off teaching. 

So now, here I am. 10,220 jellybeans into my life, and I have no idea what's next. I feel as though I'm walking in a labyrinth (sans Bowie and the singing), and taking path A feels just as good as taking path B. Am I passionless? Lackluster? I don't want to think so. I feel strongly about lots of things and try to take control of the aspects of my life that I can control. I just want to do everything. Hell, I couldn't decide on what to focus my blog on three years ago, and I still don't know. Can't I just do it all? 

16 comments:

  1. I think its perfectly ok to do loads of different things whenever you feel like it. I change all the time. I studied Physical Therapy at Uni, then changed to Beauty Therapy and then changed to Art History, haha!! Well, before Art History there was Interior Decorating. But, I loved all of them and they've all helped in different ways in life. And I've lived in three different countries and many many states. I don't think it's a bad thing to want to do loads of different things, we just have to have patience to save money up to do them, haha!! You can do it ;) xx

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  2. I know exactly how you feel but spending time getting to do what you love, even if you then pursue something else career wise, is never a waste or lost time. I really, honestly believe that. Hang in there!

    Courtney - http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

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  3. I think in the end the only real solution is to get some tight leggings and shove a ball of socks down them and put David Bowie back into the Labyrinth. That's not metaphorical, I just mean do exactly that. It will help you feel better even for a little bit.

    Perhaps this is my only advice because after I dropped out of college for accounting and went to makeup school only to do nothing with it, I feel it my only valid route as well.

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  4. I don't know that anyone truly has it all figured out, for what it's worth! Doing many different things is perfectly ok in my book!

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  5. I can really relate to this, most of my friends are in college for what they want to go into. Others are already in careers they love and a few more are in careers they thought they would love but actually hate. I've never found my "adult" job as I like to call it but I've always been of the mind that your job should never define your life. A job is just a very small part of our jelly bean life ;) To me doing all the things you love and making a difference is worth more than any job could ever pay.

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  6. This is quite the inspiring video, thank you so much for sharing it! We have quite a similarity at hand between you and me: I too started off pursuing a career in medicine but was instantly turned away when I discovered my true passion at heart was being a writer/journalist. I applaud you for taking the bold move and following what you fell in love with. Don't stop what you love doing. It's okay that everything isn't perfect now, because it shows that you're a strong person trying to find your footing in life so you get to your aha moment. You have plenty of passion inside you as you've already proved by going after a dream. Don't give up! Your moment will come. Just continue to do what you love and happiness will be sure to follow :)

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  7. I think it's ok, Laura. I love English, too, and I wanted to be an English professor long, long ago (although I would not have admitted this to anyone). I decided on chemistry before college, though, because I fell in love with it in senior year of high school when I took AP chemistry (I hated it before then, actually). I still liked English and took a few upper level courses in it (creative writing and Pacific lit) in college, but actually, the atmosphere there completely turned me off and made me glad to be a scientist, haha. Different life experiences! I love English a lot (reading, discussions, analyses) but I think I like it more as a hobby than as a job - that's just for me.

    Can you find tutoring jobs or any volunteer/intern work just to get your feet wet/in the door? Or at least give you an opportunity to try things? What about teaching at community colleges?

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  8. I think it's great that you discovered something that you were so passionate about and pursued it. Not a lot of people do, so that is really awesome. I wish I had done what you did-I was asked in uni to enter honours english but I scoffed at it and continued in chemistry. Worked for a few years, but didn't love it. Ever. And now-I'm doing nothing because there IS nothing. I think it's just as hard to find a job in science(depending on where you live I guess though). Something will turn up for you, it just might take some time.

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  9. I can definitely relate, because this is pretty much exactly how I feel right now, too. I've changed my path a couple times, but despite some unifying threads, I've done a little bit of everything and have no idea what's next or what I should be doing. I'm trying to just give it time and trust that the answers will come, but it's definitely hard, especially when so many of my friends are established in successful careers.

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  10. I kinda think we are on the same page. I've been out of college for 8 years and still no closer to the dream job I wanted. I was always a good student and my expectations were to graduate and find my passion in advertising or journalism when in reality, I have floundered in unrelated fields unhappily for years. I totally understand feeling stick and looking at my peers wishing I had stuck to that path. I'm indecisive and non committal too and I'm learning to let go of that fear

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  11. God seeing the days puts it on in perspective!!

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  12. I understand you. I'm in a place with my life now where I, too, question most of the educational decisions I've made so far. Of course, graduating with a business major is a great start for many careers so I think I have to see that through. But I get what you're saying, it's not that easy to have everything figured out. ♥

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  13. haha, add kids to your life, then you'll really be screwed up! once they came along, life was all about them, sacrificing, putting your dreams on hold...until you don't even know what your dreams are anymore! whatever you do, just be happy doing it!

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  14. It's a hard situation to find yourself in. One of the big things that you don't realize as a kid is the lifestyle part. I love cooking, but sweating it out in a commercial kitchen in a male-dominated industry, working weekends and holidays? Not for me. I found a job I really like, but no, it's not the job of my dreams. But while I derive satisfaction from my career, my job enables me to have work-life balance, which I crave. And while my job also won't make me filthy rich, I can do some of the things I love - partaking in the arts, travelling, living downtown. Aim for that dream job and work hard for it, but also recognize that very very few people are in that position; most have had to compromise somewhere...Just stay true to YOU.

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  15. I used to think your passion had to be your job, but it doesn't really work out that way for most people. Having some passion for your work is great, but you can just as easily satisfy the creative desires and multiple interests you have in the time outside of "working." I'm lucky to enjoy my job so much, but when I haven't, I've found other ways to express myself. The same goes for lots of my friends and family. Start by figuring out what you need to make to survive and then what type of position you're comfortable with (after hours, customer front facing, etc.), and you'll find what works for you I'm sure.

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  16. I totally understand. I don't know what I want because a lot of things seem equally good. But as my mom always says not to decide is to decide. If we wait too long to move in a direction then we're just standing still. You are brave and wonderful! Keep on going!

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your comments make my day. thanks! ♥