Status Quo vs. Self-Discovery

Most of us heard it for the first time in the kindergarten classroom.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Now being in our twenty’s, this question has in no way, shape or form gone forgotten. In fact, loved ones and friends constantly ask us what our next life-move will be. “What are you really passionate about? What makes you happy? How do you want to spend your work days or weeks? Where do you see yourself in ten years?” As I’m sure you know, the list goes on and on.

I’d always give a faint answer, as to show appreciation to whoever showed concern. But in reality, the subconscious pressures that these questions bring to the surface rarely go ignored, and often stick around. Most of us will be graduating from college with our Bachelors within the next few years. With that being said, the pressure is on to construct that 5-year-plan we’ve been oh so diligently preparing for. But is this really what we should be spending our time stressing out about in college, when the reality is that we may not really know what we want?

In a world where we’re taught to stick to the status quo and always have a plan, I encourage you to remember the comfort and beauty of exploration as you attempt to seek out your passion(s) during these years. While it is true that we should work hard in college and focus on doing what’s best for our futures, we must not forget the importance of self-discovery. We may be the ripe old age of twenty-one (give or take a few years), but in the grand scheme of things, we are YOUNG. We have our whole lives ahead of us and besides, we’re living the years we’re going to have to tell our kids about. Let that sink in.

Don’t be afraid to take that art class you’ve always put on the back burner because it didn’t have anything to do with your major. Don’t skip out on a job offer because it doesn’t exactly align with what you’re used to or what you know. Try everything that interests you, because the fact of the matter is that you never know how something will make you feel. Get your hands dirty. Explore. Do something most people wouldn’t expect you to do. Have fun.

And most importantly- relax. You don’t need to have all of life figured out right now, contrary to popular belief. After all, the only person you should be worried about pleasing is yourself. When you learn to accept the unknowns and a future of possibilities, things will start falling into place, and when this happens, you will be drawn to happiness and success.

So go the extra mile to do something different. Challenge yourself and be open to new experiences. You’ll become a more well-rounded person by putting yourself outside of your comfort zone, and you’ll learn a lot along the way.

You may even be lucky enough to discover what you want to be when your grow up.

-Christina Astore

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