Uneducated insight – Picking a life path requires being flexible


Holliss Rumler, Web, Sports, & Poetry Editor

   Being a teen can be overwhelming for a variety of reasons. As the years increase, the future definitely can become a stressor. 

   Everyone starts asking you what you want to be when you grow up, and a princess or superhero no longer seems like a valid response. 

   Then when you say, “I don’t know,” they follow up with, “That’s okay; you’ve got time. Do you plan to attend college? Where?” But then you think, how would I know where to go to college or if I should, even though I do not know what I would be going for? 

   It can be frustrating not to have a plan in mind. But having a plan can help motivate you to achieve your goals and feel more accomplished. And as long as the plan is flexible, it can be a huge stress reliever. So, where do you start?

   First, it is important to realize that it’s okay not to be 100% certain of what you want to do, and it is also okay to think you do and realize you were wrong. Plans should be able to change. They are not set in place to live or die by but to guide you to achieve your dreams. 

   I speak from experience, and my career choice has changed many times. First, I wanted to be a zookeeper, so I volunteered at Potter Park Zoo for a summer and then determined it wasn’t the right fit for me. While volunteering, I met a future police officer, and that career made sense. So, I joined a youth law enforcement program. I loved the work, but it wasn’t quite right. I was so disappointed in myself. 

   After reflecting on why it did not work out, I concluded that I wanted to know more about the brains behind the people sitting in the back of the cop car. I saw a lot of potential in these people; after all, many were not bad people, just good people who made terrible decisions. 

   So now, I am working towards being a life coach. While I think I have found my calling, it could still change, and I have to be okay with that. Recognizing that your goals in life may change is important. Just align your plans with them and remember that they may need to bend. So, let’s start from scratch.

   Let us assume you don’t know what you want to do in life. It can be difficult to figure out where to start, and many people have come to me with this problem. 

   There are quite a few options of things you can do to help you move forward. After doing these myself, I saw many good options pop up. It just took some time and reading to determine which was best suited for me. 

   I am starting with Xello. Yes, I know every student hates it, and it is boring. However, I love it. No, I do not love all the assignments on there, and yes, sometimes I skim through them because I do not care. But, if this tool is used properly, it can be very beneficial. 

   I redo the matchmaker quiz every year, and I take my time. I really focus on every question and spend as much time as needed. When I do this, I notice good results. While there are some ridiculous conclusions (magician was an excellent match), it can be beneficial. 

   For example, being a police officer was a good match for me, but not excellent. That checks out because I liked the work, but I knew it was not a perfect fit. An ideal match was a career coach…and I think that makes some sense. 

   If you take your time on Xello, look past the dumb results, and use it to your advantage, it can be an amazing tool. 

   For those looking for a second opinion or who have Xello PTSD, there is another website I discovered and highly recommend. That is careerexplorer.com. I love this resource (maybe more than Xello for career matching). 

   You start by taking a similar quiz to Xello’s matchmaker. However, this one is longer and more extensive. But take your time, do not just rush through it. After completing the quiz, you will get a list of career matches, and they are rated out of five stars. They also do this for degrees you may be interested in. 

   Next to the career title is the average salary and satisfaction rate. After narrowing down your options, click on a few. They have a lot of information. 

   On this website, being a police officer was four out of five stars for me, and being a life coach was five. I did not even know what a life coach was prior to this website, and after reading about it, I can see why this is a good match. 

   I had someone else take the quiz because they were stressing about the future. They had no idea what they wanted to do. After taking the quiz, they found a few careers that interested them and even started fantasizing about life within that field. While it may not be what they choose in the long run, it can help them have an idea and goal to work towards.

   Overall, it is okay not to know what to do, and it is okay to change your mind. But, if having a plan helps you feel more secure, give it a shot. Having an idea of what you want to do can help you in many fields. 

   Knowing the average income can better help you picture a realistic future, and knowing the education requirements can help you determine what you want to do or where to go after graduating. 

   Set a goal, create a plan of action, and understand this plan must be flexible. That is the key.