When I Grow Up…


I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
When I was little, I wanted to be a vet. I think everybody wants to be a vet at some point in their life. Humans have a certain connection with animals, and when we’re young, kittens and puppies are super cute and we think “wouldn’t it be great to hang out with these fluffy little beasts all day long?” When I was in pre-preschool, a cat that would hang around our house had babies. But she ended up getting attacked by an animal and dying, and it was up to us to take care of these little kittens until they were old enough to be adopted. That was some of the most fun I ever had. Seven little kitties, and my mom and I would feed them and play with them and name them. I cried when we gave them away. But eventually we get older, and we realize that being a vet is not just playing with kittens all day. You actually have to treat all kinds of animals; you’re responsible for their lives. A friend of a friend took their cat to get shots, and the vet accidentally euthanized her cat. Oops. I don’t think I could live to be responsible for that kind of thing.
I stopped wanting to be a vet around six or seven, I think.

Then I wanted to be an artist. I really liked drawing when I was little, and my art teacher in grade school always loved my art. I think I was one of her favorites. But two things cemented my loss of this dream. In eighth grade we had a fundraiser. The eighth grade class was having a car wash, and we were going around selling tickets for people that wanted to come. My friend and I went around her neighborhood, knocking on doors and trying to sell our pitch. It was my turn to convince our “customer”, and I was really desperate to sell a ticket. (It had been a bit of a slow night.) So I knocked on the door, and a guy maybe in his twenties answered. I asked him if he would buy a ticket, he said no because he didn’t have a car, I looked in his driveway and said there’s a car right there, he said okay well it doesn’t run, I said he could buy a ticket just to support, and then, in a kind of flustered and embarrassed voice, he said “Um, I’m an artist, so I’m broke.” In hindsight that must have been more embarrassing for him than it was for me, but at the time, I just said okay thanks anyway and awkwardly shuffled away, laughing at his bluntness with my friend. But that taught me that being an artist is hard. It’s hard to be successful and it’s hard to make a living. If I was going to be smart with my life, art was not that path for me. Just another thing that enforced this thinking was entering high school, and meeting all of these other people who had much more talent and creativity than I did. There was no way I could hold my own against these people, let alone the entire worldwide art community! No, I am not going to be an artist.

Another dream I entertain the possibility of is scientist. This, countering my artist dream, would be a very smart career choice. There aren’t many women in science, it’s high paying, it’s interesting, and it’s usually making a difference, depending on the chosen field. I really like chemistry. I just get it. I understand the theory, most of the time, and the math actually makes sense. The periodic table is my favorite part of chemistry. There’s this app called QuizUp, and it’s got all different categories of “quizzes” you can do. Each “quiz” is seven questions, and you play against another person from somewhere around the world. Points are awarded depending on speed, and you have 10 seconds to answer. I would always play Periodic Table QuizUp, and I was amazing at it. I was the best in Michigan-second best in the United States.

(I’m such a nerd.)

But anyway, the reason I have not decided completely on this is because my real love is for the arts, and not the physical arts as I mentioned before. I mean writing, photography, cinematography. Writing specifically is what I truly enjoy. While writing might be just slightly more lucrative than art, what with there being opportunities for journalism or free-lance writing, it is a very competitive field. And the writing I really want to do is stories or poetry, and that is even more competitive. There are so many good writers, with good books and good messages to share. How would I push myself into that market? Am I good enough? Will I grow to be good enough? And while I’m honing my craft, what can I do in the mean time to make a living? These are the questions I ask myself. I also enjoy photography. I took a digital photography class my sophomore year, and learning some of the tricks to make a picture more aesthetically pleasing and artistically correct really made me love the class. It was very interesting. My cousin in California is a professional photographer, and I find myself comparing myself to him often. I am not nearly as good as he is, but I catch myself thinking “what would Shane think of this picture? How would Shane take this picture better?” I think it’s both good and bad to look to him. On one hand, I should be developing my own style, but on the other hand, it’s good to see how a professional would handle a situation. And for my sixteenth birthday, I got my own digital camera. Since then I’ve been taking pictures ALL THE TIME. Every picture you see on this blog is taken by me, unless I specifically credit someone else. I don’t know if I can see myself photographing things for a living, like Shane, but it’s definitely something I’m interested in. I would like to continue.

It’s nice to have all of these ideas in my mind, but it’s hard, too. A lot of my friends at school already know what they want to do. Like so-and-so is going to be a neurosurgeon, and what’s-her-name is going to be a teacher, and I’m still unsure. To some people this comes across as not thinking about my future, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I think about my future all the time. That’s why I’m faced with this decision. It’s not like I don’t know because I don’t think about it; I don’t know because I do think about it.

I’ll figure it out. I know I will but if anyone has any ideas or advice, my ears are open.


One thought on “When I Grow Up…

  1. I can relate to your dilemma — many people I know have confessed that they don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. But these are people with many interests and accomplishments in many fields. So, I’d say: try not to worry about it and just keep leaning new things and doing what you enjoy; and maybe the adventure (which is your life) will provide answers along the way. Meanwhile, know that you have the brains and heart to do anything and all.

    And one more thing: try not to compare your abilities with others; measure your self by your own efforts and amount of satisfaction you gained from giving it a try.


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