I was eleven years old, sitting inside a tiny little office, waiting for a psychic to come predict my future. It sounded ridiculous; yet, I continued to be glued to my seat, waiting curiously to know what the person would say. Long story short, the psychic told me I would become a talented scientist in the future. Eleven year old me was nonchalant, thinking the psychic was a scam, unknowing of the super complicated journey I was going to face when deciding my passion in highschool.
My life in highschool was a simple mix of academics, school events, and clubs. In grade ten, I took a Career Education course in which I learned about the different kinds of fields I could potentially work in –construction, nursing, computer science, politics, and the list goes on. Initially, I was dead set on becoming a dentist, and vigorously learned all about the process of going to dental school, writing the DAT, and working in a clinic. Afterwards, I became more interested in becoming a teacher, since I knew I loved working with kids. Over the next year, I changed my mind over 20 times, thinking of the endless possible career choices I had. In grade eleven, I had to decide which courses to take during senior year in order to be eligible for certain university programs. At this point, I still had no clue about my passion nor the job I wanted to pursue. My parents convinced me to choose the science field and take biology so I could become a scientist one day. And so I did.
Everything was going as predicted by the psychic from nearly 6 years ago, until something changed over the summer. I randomly decided to get involved in many opportunities, like facilitating a disability program, volunteering at a children's camp, and learning how to code. By the time school started, I had officially chosen my future career path in the field of computer engineering. Although I had already chosen biology, I took physics in summer school, and by the end of senior year, I got an offer into one of the top engineering schools in Canada.
My struggle to find my passion should serve as a reminder for two things:
1. Deciding your future career path will not be easy
As teenagers, we are given the ultimatum of planning our entire future at the young age of 17. We have limited knowledge and understanding of how our potential jobs work, and making this decision is definitely stressful. The key is to understand that finding your passion may not be easy, and you shouldn’t be afraid of changing your mind.
2. The best way to discover a passion is to gain experience
If I hadn’t gotten involved in so many activities in highschool, either through clubs, volunteering, or self-learning, I would have never discovered my love for coding. Don’t limit yourself to certain types of activities, and make your experiences diverse. Join a robotics team, participate in a writers workshop, volunteer with kids, or compete in a science competition! Going out and trying activities in your field of interest is the best way to test your compatibility with them.
Today, I finally understand that the true psychic is not the person I met 7 years ago, in the tiny little office. The true psychics are me and you and students all around the world, making career choices before they’ve even had a job in their field of interest. We take a gamble on our career choices based on our highschool experiences. The only way to make the most accurate decision is to get more involved and explore your options.