Edit desk: The certainty in uncertainty


“What are you going to be when you grow up?” 

A teacher. A pediatrician. A wedding planner. A professional tennis player. A chef. As a young girl, these are just some of the professions that would tumble out of my mouth when I was met with this question. 

 Some people are practically born knowing that they want to be a doctor or a dentist.  That was, and still is, definitely not the case for myself. Each career path that intrigued me would occupy my mind for some time until I decided to move on to a different, more exciting choice. 

At those points in my life, it was not a big deal to be unsure of how I wanted to spend my adult years. So, I let my curious and ambitious mind imagine the different potentials of my future as I made my way through elementary, middle and high school. 

“What are you going to major in?” 

When I got to Lehigh as an eager first-year, questions about my future seemed a little more looming and pressing. Yet, I still had no concrete plans for my future endeavors. 

The question of what I wanted to be when I grew up slowly phased out as I got older. The future I used to daydream about was now in the present tense. 

Throughout my first two years at Lehigh, I would answer questions about my major by saying I was “completely and utterly undecided.” Part of my indecisiveness was due to a multitude of majors and career paths that piqued my interest. 

Despite many completed personality tests, conversations with friends and family and a couple visits to the Career Center, I felt like nothing was sticking for me that  completely fulfilled my desires. 

As conversations surrounding my future plans came up, people would often provide reassurance and tell me that I had plenty of time to figure it out. But, I often felt like I was running out of time. Being surrounded by my decisive peers was reminiscent of a game of catch-up. Nonetheless, I was determined to try to figure out what my life calling was. 

One thing I have always been decisive about is my desire to help people. I have always known that I wanted to make an impact somehow– big or small. After enjoying my introduction to sociology course, I enrolled in more sociology classes and fell in love with the subject. 

The ability to both better understand and engage with individuals and society through sociology satisfied my desire to help people. 

I finally made up my mind, and I will be graduating with a B.A. in sociology, along with three minors in marketing, mass communications and health, medicine and society.

Is anyone surprised that I couldn’t pick just one minor?

“What are you doing after you graduate from Lehigh?”

Similar to the other questions, I have been met with this specific one a myriad of times. I am sure my peers have as well. Many people are understandably curious about this since Lehigh is the stepping stone to the next point in our lives. 

Despite graduating in just a short few months in December, I still do not know the answer. 

While I have many question marks remaining for my post-Lehigh life, I do know that I have learned a lot about myself and grown as an individual at this school. I have become more confident, capable and empathetic. I have held several leadership positions, performed well in my classes and forged strong relationships with others. The experiences, learning moments and friendships that I have experienced during my time at Lehigh will undoubtedly help me  answer the big questions that I will continue to face.

I have grown to feel more comfortable with, and even certain about, the uncertainty in my life. 

Not everyone has figured it out quite yet, even though it may feel like that. As the poet Walt Whitman once said (and as retold recently by Ted Lasso), “be curious, not judgmental.” 

While I am not sure if I will ever become the pediatrician, wedding planner, or chef that I once dreamed of, I am happy that I have maintained the same openness, curiosity and ambition that I had as a little girl. 

Not knowing what you might become when you grow up — even when you are, in fact, grown- up — is okay, and being unsure of where you will land after college is also normal. 

Of that, I am certain.

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