Figuring it Out


When I started fall term, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I figured… hey, I will graduate from a great school and work as a planner or buyer in advertising. I thought it would be that simple.

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Now I’m realizing there are so many more factors to figure out aside from just a “job title.”

There is  location, culture, industry, pay, benefits, travel, responsibilities, family, lifestyle… and many, many more. I thought I had a hard enough time deciding where I wanted to go to college!

Nobody wants to waste time in a work place that doesn’t get them to where they want to be or doesn’t make them happy.

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Although this might not be the case for everyone, those “career guidance” tests never did much for me. I took one in high school and it told me I should pursue law. Later in the year, we were required to complete a job-shadow. Taking guidance from the career test, I decided to job-shadow an attorney and realized it wasn’t for me. The office was quiet, the employees looked tired and everyone warned me about the huge and dusty law-library I would have to navigate.

The takeaway, I thought, was to help me realize what I didn’t want to do. Now I am seeing that even though I didn’t think that law office was a fit for me, it doesn’t mean I should turn down a career path completely. There is so much more to consider. I needed to understand myself  in order to understand what would be a good place for me.

Unfortunately, I can’t come up with a bullet list that describes how each of us can “figure ourselves out.” Honestly, I believe that it takes time. It takes getting lost, turning back around – and maybe getting lost again. It takes listening and reflecting. It takes a lot – but it’s worth it.

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“I’m going on an adventure!”

The more you can adventure and experience, the more you learn about yourself and what makes you happy. As students and future professionals, we have time to challenge ourselves to experience as much of this world as we can. By paying attention to what makes you feel fulfilled and making careful choices, we can be well on our way to finding a good fit in the work place and in life. After all, 40-60 hours a week is a pretty big chunk.

“I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new.”

   – Billy Joel

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6 Responses to Figuring it Out

  1. hmartin3 says:

    Nice post Adaira. I, and I’m sure everyone else, can relate to what you’re saying. I have such a hard time deciding what I want to do with the rest of my like, and to be honest I don’t quite understand people who have it nailed down at our age. There are so many things out there that we have never even tried or considered- how are we supposed to pick one?! I like what you said about getting lost and turning back again, because I think that’s what it’s all about. We’ll never know until we try, so we might as well go for it knowing we can always change directions if we want to.

  2. Love the Billy Joel quote! Great post with many very true statements. It’s always important to have a variety of experiences to help learn more about yourself as an individual. Every experience that we have reveals something new about ourselves, especially at this time in our lives. We need to take time to learn about ourselves before choosing a career path that might not necessarily be meant for us.

  3. Jasmine N. Rockow says:

    Sometimes the only way to discover something new about ourselves is to get lost. Even if we spend time in a place that isn’t perfectly suited to our highest aspirations for ourselves, we never know how that experience could benefit us later in life. I think it’s also important to remember just how fortunate we are for this opportunity. Many people don’t have the luxury of considering what job will be a perfect fit for their true self or working for no pay.

  4. Well written! It’s funny how sometimes we end up choosing a career path that we never expected to when we were younger, or something just comes out of nowhere when you least expect it. I’m joining an Army band, but it would not have occurred to me before I had this much experience at my instrument, and I used to hate the idea of joining the military, stripping away my individuality with crew cuts and whatnot.
    To find out what’s good for us, it’s important to know what fits us, and whether we even want what fits us. I’m an introvert, but I always want to be in extroverted positions. There are so many different parts involved in finding a job match, but I think the best way to see it is exactly as you say:
    “The more you can adventure and experience, the more you learn about yourself and what makes you happy.”

    Thanks for the good read!

  5. Emily Kirk says:

    Great read! It resonates with a lot of people our age. Unfortunately, I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do since I turned 10 and haven’t strayed much from it. However, recently I’ve found myself peeking at other jobs and what they entail. I suppose I’m starting to have more of an open mind because I realize how much there is out there to do!

  6. Hannah Olson says:

    GREAT post, Addie! I think what your saying is often hard to remember sometimes – that the best way to figure out what we want to do is by soaking up as many experiences and just testing it out. There’s a lot of pressure to figure out what we want to do and where we want to be NOW but I think we have to remind ourselves that there’s no rush and that eventually, key word eventually, we’ll figure it all out.

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