“To sleep, perchance to dream; aye there’s the rub…”
Though Hamlet’s may have had good reason to fear “what dreams may come”, before settling on a finite career goal and the degree that will bring it within reach, your dreams should be neither feared, nor ignored.
Since childhood, we have entertained various dreams of our futures as adults. Swooning your third grade sweetheart with a kiss and a handful of buttercups on some mountain vista. Saving the same sweetheart from drowning at the public pool with your first aid merit badge sanctioned resuscitation skills. Perhaps the drama of fighting fires or catching bad guys held your interest, until you got your first drum kit. Then the promise of rock star excess held sway.
Throughout our schooling careers and life experiences, dreams of future careers have come and gone with the changing of the seasons. As high school graduation encroached, and as major career decisions loomed ever nearer, the excitement of those early career visions inevitably dissolved into more sensible options, majors and degree plans that, for all their practicality, lacked something in the way of inspiration. Just this side of watching paint dry.
Remember the superhero inside.
Show me a child at seven…and I’ll show you the man he will become.
In some child psychology circles, there remains some relevance in the belief that at the age of seven a child reaches a certain plateau of visionary thinking. Tenuously balanced between the imaginary thinking of early childhood and the more concrete thinking of middle childhood, the beliefs held by seven year olds about themselves and the world in which they live will basically remain the same for the rest of their lives.
In projecting what work you see yourself doing in the future, it may be helpful to try and remember what you saw yourself doing at that tender age of seven. Did you want to be a doctor and cure sick people? A musician playing concerts to thunderous applause? An inventor, piecing together the most remarkable world altering inventions?
What changed your mind, if anything did? For some, throwing up on the pubic libraries only copy of Grey’s Anatomy spelled the end of a promising career in medicine. For others perhaps it was a lack of support or encouragement. For others, perhaps flat out discouragement.
In any case, consider your current career or degree prospects and check for any continuity. A knack for mathematics for example, desire to help the less fortunate or maybe a compulsive desire to express yourself as a writer, artist or musician still beats strong in your heart. There are no rules to this exercise.
Underestimate your underestimations of yourself
Chances are, the job we see ourselves doing in the future may have more to do with that other people see us doing in the future than with our own desires.
To correct any of these adopted fallacies, career experts recommend taking advantage of the numerous skills and interests inventories available online or through your schools student services center. If what you see yourself doing in the future is drudging through a career that shares no commonalities with your interests and subject preferences, you may need to polish us that crystal ball and take another look.
Listen to your heart
Before committing to a vocational, academic or post-secondary training program, do some research. Try to know your Strengths and Weaknesses for School Success at:
Sadly, we often learn to disguise our true interests — the vision of our future that truly excites us — to retreat from past failures or satisfy pressure from family members. To adapt we too often put the “future we imagine for ourselves”; on the back burner.
It goes without mention that if you don’t learn to communicate your innermost career desires and the future you see for yourself, others may make those decisions for you. Keep in mind that the process of determining what you see yourself doing in the future does not take place overnight. Give yourself some time, breath deeply and dream.