The Los Angeles used to print a special supplement each June that featured high school Valedictorians for that year’s graduating class. We were asked to submit a photograph, college plans, description of achievements, and our intended major and career aspirations. The first three items were easy, but the other two were not.
I stated Human Biology and Spanish as my intended majors then dreaded reading my
profile when it came out. I didn’t want to see what I submitted in print because I knew my major was false. I stated Human Biology because my parents wanted to me to go to medical school. But I could not see myself as I doctor. I disliked science and hospitals made my knees weak. As for Spanish, I had taken four years in high school and was seriously involved in the Spanish Club, but didn’t have a knack for the language and was ready to move on.
My career goals were printed as follows: “to become an active environmentalist, to travel, and to help people of all nations, healing, counseling, and just making friends.”
Reading that statement also made me cringe. Although I had been honest, I was embarrassed I had written those things. They were childish dreams in an idealistic world of which I knew I would never belong. I had no idea what I wanted to major in, not to mention what type of ‘“real job” I could see myself doing. Within a few short weeks the joy of my hard-earned accomplishments had begun to unravel and I was about to enter some very dark places.
Questions for Reflection:
Parents: I thought my goals were childish. Were they really? Does your child or teen have space in his his or her schedule to explore interests or future careers? Did you know what you wanted to major in college? How did you come about that decision? What do you know now that you wish you had known in high school?
Teens: Have you thought about what you want to study in college? Please share any ideas about you might want to study and why, even if it seems unrealistic to you.