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I have a confession to make. I, Intern Julie, am a compulsive planner. From the time I wake up in the morning until I fall asleep at night, I generally have my schedule strategically mapped out down to the minute. If I complete something not on my day’s to-do-list, I tend to write it in as an addendum, subsequently crossing it off. Running a red-inked line through a daily chore gives me a strange sense of accomplishment. As you can see, my organizational skills sometimes border on neuroticism. I am predictable. I am safe. I am boring.

[Note from Kim: I don’t think planners are boring.  Plans are exciting, therefore planners are the epitome of not-boring…this coming from the woman who has a five year plan in Excel format]

Therefore, when something deviates from the norm my whole world tends to stop.

Until about one month ago I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had a major I thought I loved and an admirable career plan I was working diligently to pursue. Then, I began to see my future differently, and began to think about what I really want to do with my life and what I really hope to accomplish. It was then I realized something sort of scary; I am not entirely sure. At age twenty, I have entered into a “quarter life crisis” of sorts. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I am fairly sure I am not the only one. Young adulthood is a time marked by impulsivity and underdeveloped emotional regulation. Whoever decided that this was the peak time for one to pick what they want to do for the rest of their lives probably did not think it entirely though.

Does that mean I feel as though I am wasting my time in college? Of course not. I enjoy my field of study and am still fairly sure I can see myself pursuing some sort of career in it. I maintain a high GPA and participate in more extracurricular activities than I have courses. However, I have come to realize that there are a multitude of paths one can take after college and I should be receptive to all of them. Earlier in my college career, I used to secretly pity my “Undecided” peers, scoffing at their lack of certainty and secretly feeling an unfounded sense of superiority toward them. They were the ones who lacked direction. They were the ones branded with the prominent, figurative question mark I had worked so desperately to avoid. However, I soon realized that they are not the only ones who are uncertain; they are simply the ones cognizant enough to admit it. We all possess the same question mark, cleverly masked by a college major or corporate job. Following graduation, I honestly believe the uncertainty does not simply disappear. Many staunch Business majors may venture over into the art world while many English majors may try their hand at entrepreneurial pursuits. Even the most passionate in their field expand and grow throughout the course of their career, exploring different avenues of their profession.

Therein lies the beauty of life. Although a tumultuous economy may suggest otherwise, we are not confined by a major we pick in college or a job we consider draining. Vernon Howard one said, “Always walk through life as though you have something new to learn and you will.” Unfortunately this journey does not always include a clear set of directions.

So what’s next? For me I have known ever since I was a young child that I truly enjoy writing and, as cliché as it may sound, helping others. If I can somehow incorporate both of these skill sets into some area of my life then I am certain I will be happy. I am not ruling out anything quite yet.

Readers, how about you? Do you feel as though you are still trying to figure out what you want to do when you “grow up?” Maybe you have a career you love but are hoping to accomplish something else as well? I’d love to hear your stories (and would appreciate any advice!)