When An Unknown Future Is… Okay!

What did you want to be when you grew up? How many of us are doing just that? I remember being in high school and even college and feeling very jealous of the people who had a set plan for the career they envisioned. I was following a path, but I was far from 100% set. I was a mathematics major and planned to become a math teacher. I was told I was good at math and that was that, I chose my major. If I was honest with myself, nothing about it sounded exciting. When I was really young I went through many career options such as a dolphin trainer, nurse, or future Spice Girl, but I never had one set idea.

Melissa and Jordan Allen holding a toddler son and baby girl taking a photo with Buzz Light-year
Melissa and Jordan Allen

On the other hand, my husband knew with everything in his heart what he wanted to do. His plans had changed from pediatrician to Athletic Trainer, but he knew he was going into the medical field and felt certain he was doing what he loved. We were both ambitious and both wanted a lot out of our careers, the only difference was I had no idea what mine was! I feel extremely blessed that God led me to the position I am in today as a College and Career Advisor at Lakeland Christian School. Different experiences led me to this place, but I am pretty sure if you had asked 10 year-old Melissa what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have never said this.

What is my point in telling you all this? I hear all the time that our students don’t know what they want to do in college and they have such anxiety about the unknown – but I say it is completely ok! How many of us knew what we wanted to do at 18 years old and are doing exactly that now? The seniors should feel a sense of excitement to explore so many options rather than a pressure to know already. As I sat at the recent State University System meeting where the universities in Florida discuss updates with hundreds of guidance counselors, I heard all about UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality and the options to go into the hospitality field in Orlando and opportunities for travel. I heard all about UNF’s program for Deaf education. I heard about programs for cruise ship design and cybersecurity and natural disaster preparation and all I could think about were the students surely don’t know about these options either. Nobody researches these types of programs or dreams of being the person going into these majors, but the jobs are out there and some of our students might love these! Our kids don’t need to fall into the categories of doctors, lawyers, teachers, or law enforcement – there is more to this complicated world and God gives each of us strengths to contribute to society in very unique ways. There is no computer assessment to tell you to become a commercial real estate agent for Publix or the Provost of a University – the only thing we have is our experiences and how we feel throughout them. Finding out what we don’t like can be just as important as finding out what we do like.

Experience is the only thing that can lead someone to a career. Students, take every opportunity to find out your passion. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7. Find a college you love for every reason outside of the academics and just make sure they have a lot of options for majors if you are not 100% set on one. Don’t be afraid to change your major. It is significantly harder to go back to college after joining the workforce. Shadow professionals or talk to people about their jobs. Ask the hard questions now. My prayer for our students is that they lean in to God and follow His word more than ever during those college years. Everyone is in a huge transition no matter what – you are never alone. God will put you where he wants you as long as you look for open doors and have faith.