What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?


via: wonderopolis

Andrew Prokop, Editing Manager

I bet you have heard that question before. Whether it was kindergarten, 2nd grade, maybe even the end of middle school, at some point, a teacher or other adult figure looked at you and asked, what do you want to be when you grow up?  

It’s a fun question on the surface, letting a kid use their full creativity to determine some crazy or popular idea. A Firefighter, Astronaut, Athlete, Singer, Teacher, Doctor, Scientist, these are just a few of the wide range of answers you will hear from kids if you were to ask them what they want to be. As they grow, that answer changes a lot. Generally, it becomes more “realistic,” whether it was because their passions shifted or because pessimists slowly wore them down. You will also find a small group that dreads that question, scared by the overwhelming amount of options as they learn more about the world. This question is great for kids because they have plenty of time left to figure it out. When it comes to college students and adults, I don’t think that question is asked enough. 

When was the last time someone asked you what you want to be when you grow up? I would imagine people don’t ask anymore because they think you must have grown up if you aren’t a kid. Now they ask, “what do you do?” not “what will you do?”.

There is a large expectation that you have your major already chosen and a career path set when you go to college. While it is not uncommon for a student to not declare a major or even change majors throughout their college experience, it is generally accepted that you are an adult and ready to make those decisions. The truth is that college students and adults alike don’t always know what they want to do. They are scared of making the wrong decision and ending up somewhere unhappy for the rest of their life.  

College is known as a place of growth; a lot of people go just for the well-known “college experience.” While the college experience is often associated with studying and partying, rinse, and repeat. However, it is so much more. College is a place where you make connections and have experiences that shape you as a person. You will meet people who have found something they are great at and passionate about, but you will also find people who have no idea what to do with their lives and are just lost, looking for their spark. I could care less what your major is, I don’t want to know what other people think you should be, and it certainly doesn’t matter what you have done in the past.  

The only question that matters is what do you want to be? What will make you happy, because I am fairly sure a lot of us are not all “grown-up”; a struggling student, someone just entering the workforce, a graduate who didn’t find a good career fit, someone older that is coming back to school, or even a retiree that doesn’t take retirement as an end but rather a new beginning. When someone asks you, “how did things turn out,” respond with “I am still turning out” because you are always growing.  

Never settle for where you are. Always strive to find something or someone that will make you happier. If you get tired of a monotonous routine, change it. If you feel lonely, put yourself out there and try to make friends. Even if you made many changes and need to return to your roots, your family and friends will always be there because they are trying to figure this “life” thing out just like you.  

I guess there is only one thing left to ask, what do you want to be when you grow up?