02/29/2012 10:03 am ET Updated Apr 30, 2012

Being Sure of My Uncertainty

From the first of kindergarten to high school graduation, we are asked the same question about our future: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Personally, I was never one of those kids who had a definite answer, who had known what college they wanted to attend since they were five years old, and who were set in what career they wanted to go into. Every year, I always replied to this same question with a different answer, ranging from a chef to a journalist to a civil engineer. At one point, I had even wanted to be one of those girls who reveal the prizes on The Price is Right. Throughout the years, I have never been able to simply settle on one career path that I wanted to take.

To further my uncertainty, I always felt conflicted because of my indecisiveness. As I heard my classmates talk about what they wanted to do when they grew up, I felt concerned about my lack of long-term goals. I listened as my peers planned out not only their future jobs, but also their intended majors and minors. Basically, it felt as though everyone had the next 17 years of their life planned out while I was still figuring out what I wanted to do next Friday.

Now, I am a senior in my last semester of high school. I have applied to colleges and scholarships. I have filled out my FAFSA form. I have even imagined how amazing it would be to be accepted into one of the many prestigious universities that I applied to or to get a generous scholarship. Yet I still have no exact idea of what I want to do. Right now, I think I want to go into an environmental career field, but I need to decide on a specific job. But I can now accept my lack of dead-set, long-term plans. I have realized that I need to explore in order to make a decision. And, most importantly, I should not merely decide on what I want to do for the rest of my life just because it feels as though everyone else has everything figured out. I stopped forcing myself to rush into important decisions just to say that I have a decision made.

So, as I head off to college in the fall, I am not only excited for meeting new people or having more freedom. I am also happy that I get to explore my interests by taking a variety of classes. Possibilities are endless. I could try an American literature course or take my love of DIY projects to a new level with a fashion design class. And, if I feel like challenging myself, I have the chance to venture into the difficult and time-consuming calculus with analytic geometry III. Though I may not have the next two decades of my life planned out, I did set a college and career goal: to take as much time as I need to find my answer to the frequently asked question "What do you want to be when you grow up?".