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How I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up


Thinking about the futurefrom deciding where you want to go to college and what to major in to what you want your career to becan be very overwhelming. There are so many options (college or no? grad school? job?) and pressure from your parents or even yourself can even add another layer of stress. If that all sounds familiar, take a deep breath, and then try pursuing your passion. Here's how I did exactly that...

When I was in elementary/middle school, I wanted to be a chef and own my own restaurant. I would watch Food Network every afternoon and learn the most I could from Rachel Ray, Sarah Lee and all the other chefs. It was definitely something I really wanted to do (and even to this day, I love to cook and make my own creative dishes).

When I turned 14, I confided in a close family member that I wanted to be a chef but, because I was an overweight kid, they made a cruel joke about how being a chef would definitely be the wrong choice. That completely crushed me, and I turned to writing to help cope. Turns out, I actually enjoyed it so I decided to become a novelist and joined a writing club at my school and planned on majoring in creative writing when I got to college.

But then, it seemed like no one approved of my creative writing dreams. They told me that I should major in journalism because it still had something to do with writing but that I could also be on TV and do the news. All I could do was listen to them...they said they knew what was “best” for me but I felt like no one was hearing me.

In my junior year, my Intro to Technology teacher wanted the class to do a career project where you would create a small website about your career choice and the education requirements it took to get you there. It was then that I decided to major in music with a possibility of doubling up with creative writing to help with lyric writing. I wanted to be like Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Pharrell. No surprise: The same family members that told me to do journalism were definitely not ok with the idea of me doing music.

They were so worried about me making money and being stable as an adult instead of my happiness, and I understood where they were coming from. They all took jobs that either had some part to do with their majors in college or it was stable enough to pay bills, but at 16 years old, I decided to be stubborn. There was nothing that I was more passionate at that time than music. Music was my reason to breathe, the thing that gave me a heartbeat and I knew I needed to try.

It took awhile for my mom to get on board with the whole music major thing. I received a book from Berklee College of Music in Boston that explained all the jobs/careers you could do depending on the major. When she saw this, she relaxed a little more but insisted that if I was going to major in music in college, especially at Berklee, then I would need to also major (or do a minor) in music business.

I didn’t get into Berklee but I ended up majoring in music at my local community college and graduated with my Associate’s. When I transferred to my university, I didn’t get in their music technology program and had to choose a new major. I thought that I should just give up on music altogether since it felt like the universe was trying to tell me something.

Now coming to the end of my college career, I have a decision to make. If/when I decide to go to grad school, I can get a master’s in music production/technology or do something in fashion. Whatever I decide, it will be up to me and no one else. Sometimes I wish I just had majored in culinary arts and not listen to that negative family member since my college journey is taking a little longer than expected. Keep that in mind: No matter what anyone says, you have to have faith and believe in yourself. It's *your* life, after all.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Tell us in the comments! 

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by Nicole Eggleston | 6/25/2017