This week, I presented the notoriously stressful graduation transition plan.
All the preparation, time and effort I put into it culminated in a 15-minute presentation, in which I explained my career and life plans to two members of the school community.
The purpose of the graduation transition plan is to help students decide where they want to go in life and discover what is necessary to get there, and it certainly did so for me.
However, as I was presenting it, there was an element to what I was saying that felt false.
While I can decide now which degree and career to pursue, I have no way of knowing indefinitely what the future holds.
I may change my mind, or obstacles may come up that defer me from this path.
In reality, most people change careers multiple times within their lifetime. To plan my life around one specific goal would be ignorant and unpractical, and thankfully, I don’t have to.
For some time, I was conflicted with the issue of deciding whether I wanted to be a journalist or a copywriter.
And then a surprisingly obvious notion occurred to me—I could do both.
Perhaps it took me so long to realize this because, from a young age, we are bombarded with the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
In kindergarten, children decide that they want to be doctors, firefighters and veterinarians, as if this occupation would constitute their whole character.
Even in Grade 12, I get asked this question several times a week, and this trend seems to continue into adulthood as people are often introduced by their occupation.
Your career path certainly has a lot to do with who you are, but it is not all of you.
Despite my cynicism, the conversational question asking what I want to do after I graduate is fairly easy for me to answer.
But I often think of what these conversations would look like if I, like many people, simply didn’t know.
In fact, I have witnessed a few of these, as the “I’m not too sure yet” reply is usually followed by a few seconds of awkward silence and an unspoken judgment.
At 17 years old, when you are still trying to figure out who you are and what you are interested in, it is incredibly difficult to know what you want to do for the rest of your life.
This often remains undiscovered even after a university degree or well into a job.
Throughout all this, there is a nagging voice in your head that whatever you decide upon must be financially viable, because, like it or not, money determines many aspects of our lives.
But it is also important that your career is rooted in things you enjoy and not based solely on the dollar.
Maybe our focus should not be on specific methods of attaining a mortgage and nice car, but rather on the pathway that allows for flexibility, self-discovery, and the fulfillment of values and interests.
Amber Krogel is a Grade 12 student at Kelowna Christian School.