Freshmen too young to make life choices


Graphic Carey Davis

Elissa Gorman, Staff Writer

“What do you want to be when you grow up? You don’t know? Well, you better figure it out.”

As a freshman in high school who does not even know how to do laundry, asking me this question and expecting me to have my adult life set in stone is absolutely ridiculous. Yet, I, like many others, feel the pressure to decide the path I want my life to take.

Forcing teenagers into a specified plan of action from the get-go limits their opportunity to discover the full scope of horizons. Too many times I’ve heard friends complain about how a certain class will not benefit them long term. Taking new, interesting classes can be a way to find passion in an unexpected area, but when we go into the class with prejudice and a negative mentality, we restrict our ability to enjoy the experience.

While we are so focused on one option, whether it be for a career or college, most of us often fail to notice all the other great choices. Everything is seen through tunnel vision, and when the time comes, we may wish that we had spent more time trying something new.

This system also implies that there can be no alteration. We’re humans, our minds change. There is no possible way to foresee whether I will be satisfied with my career choice twenty years from now, and if I’m not, then I should be able to diverge from my original plan without being labeled as imprudent.

Another problem with kids committing themselves to a future so early is that the influence can come from parents or other outside sources rather than the students themselves. These students should not have to feel guilty for straying from this path to pursue their passion, but on many occasions they do not want to ‘disappoint their parents.’ Parents should be proud of their child for other reasons besides their college degree and numbers on a paycheck.

I understand the importance of preparing for the future and enabling yourself to achieve the best position possible. My issue with the system is the pressure that many of us, as students, feel to have the rest of our lives figured out. Instead of pressuring us to decide on our careers and top colleges, school systems and parents alike should place the emphasis on preparing us to make the best decision when we are ready by going through life with an open mind.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up? I’m not even sure what I want for lunch today, but I do know that I plan to spend the next three and a half years exploring new opportunities to avoid carving my future in stone.