On the sly: If you don’t know, it’s okay

(Angie L. Pineda / Lariat)

H. Margaret Slye

When I was fifteen, I had trouble choosing what color I wanted the bands on my braces to be from week to week, let alone choosing what career path to begin to tread on.

Even in middle school, there were kids and parents who were already immersed in the college planning process. I did not have any part of it.
That was for kids whose parents were the kind of people who put ice in their orange juice and make you take your shoes off in the house.

The pressure to pick a major still hasn’t subsided after four years of high school and three years of community college. I’m greatful that my parents never forced me down a particular  path, but the power to choose your own comes with the weight of so many options.

“We see a lot of students come through that don’t have a major in mind,” Mary Ann McCarthy, counselor at Saddleback College, said, “It’s particularly difficult when they’ve got all their general education, done but then not their major preparation.”

In high school and middle school it’s harder to explore a wide variety of disciplines than it is in college. Students should be encouraged to explore their interests when they get to higher education rather than be pressured to get in, get out and know exactly what they want to do.

“[In] eighth grade I knew what I wanted to do, and for like five years I was set on being a psychologist,” said Maria Lopez, 18, communication disorders. “But coming into college I changed it to speech pathology.”

McCarthy says that stumped students can take Applied Psychology 140 and 160 at Saddleback  to explore their options and match career paths with personality types and interests. This is something she reccomends particularly to younger students.

“There are very few students who really know from a young age what they want to do,” McCarthy said, “They are few and far between; Most students do struggle with that.”

Students still asking the question, “what do I do if I don’t know” can be sure that they’re not alone.

I still feel like society is expecting me to know what I want to do, where I want to go and get in get out and get on my way so that I can get to a place where I’m making a pretty penny. For now however, I’m choosing to work the system and explore my interests.

The more you see the less you know, and I may never know. But at least I’ll see a lot in the process.


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