The Evolution of Dreams: 20 & Counting

I’m 20, in school, have a lot of undirected passion and not sure what I want to do with my life. What a refreshingly new situation – not. Regardless, as I sit here pondering my future I have quite a few options on my mind for a career. Some of them are carry-overs from before I started undergrad: editor, journalist, maybe a part-time florist. But those are a bit more freely floating than what I’m actually studying. Since I’ve been at school my mind has been a wild jumble as job options keep popping around in conversations and beyond, so here’s what I’ve taken from them.

  1. Japanese literature professor. This one is less up there because all I know for know is that I like taking the courses; the whole teaching part is pretty up in the air. I do really love what I’ve read in classes though, and being able to teach it, continue in the field and engage in some realm of literature like my younger self dreamed of sounds pretty boss.
  2. Baker. Not as a permanent career, but maybe as a low-key year after graduation for saving money, finding myself and doing whatever else 21 year old me needs to get my ass into gear. This came up after a friend’s mom (someone I highly respect) really went on about how taking some time for you, focusing on your own development and all before throwing yourself into work. I like that idea, and while I don’t know that I’d pass up on a full-fledged career for this the idea behind it is something I more than agree with. Why a baker? Because bread is the best and I love pastries and making food.
  3. Environmental policy maker. I love the environment and working to protect it is likely what I’ll devote my future to. One way to do that for sure is getting involved in environmental legislation, and being on the front lines of policy proposals, revisions and approval seems like a pretty good way to go. One of the professors in my department also just came from years of working with the EPA, so that’s a bit inspirational.
  4. Researcher (aide). I love experiments and a lot of the environmental research going on right now. Only thing is that I haven’t found my particular passion yet, and it’s a bit hard to conduct research on nothing in particular. So I’d like to either develop a focus soon or help someone else with their research.
  5. Scientific writer. Whether this would take the form of helping finalize research reports, conducting social research on environmental issues and writing it up, working with a magazine or something else, it’s appealing. As I’ve stated I love writing and being able to bridge the intimidating gap between the scientific community and the public would be a dream. I’m all about promoting accessibility, both in general and between the groups I just mentioned.
  6. Queer sociologist. This is another one that’s more likely to be a side area, probably done out of self-motivation as a hobby honestly. Not a sociologist in particular either, but I don’t know what to properly call it so it gets that title. As a queer person with a lot of queer friends, as well as the active climate around queer rights in America (and worldwide), this is a very personal topic that needs more attention. People’s experiences, resources, social stigma and so many other areas are lacking in research and general dialogue. I’d like to help change that and add to a hopefully growing body of literature within the field.
  7. Nuclear energy researcher. With my majors in the Japanese and environmental fields, they often don’t overlap in a particularly resounding way – except for the topic of nuclear power. With the Fukushima disaster in the Tōhoku region 5 years ago (2011), nuclear power drew worldwide attention and debate in social, environmental and monetary issues. The use of nuclear energy has so many high-risk pros and cons that I’d like to help narrow in on them and evaluate its potential worth in the future as a
  8. Natural disaster management and response. These extreme events are only going to increase in frequency as we march ourselves deeper and deeper into climate change, so the next step is figuring out how to respond to our increasingly unpredictable world. By studying traditional community’s responses to natural events, promoting sustainable and resilient infrastructure and working with communities/government I think we have a fair chance at reasonably withstanding what’s coming. I want to be there for the before and after, and do what I can to keep people thriving despite the natural forces we have to face.

I have a lot of interests, I know, and college has really pushed me into so many fields of interest that I think it’s gotten me farther from a decision. But a great thing is that I think I’d feel comfortable applying to a wide range of positions that I’m passionate about in different ways. One of the most important things that has stuck with me from my first year at school came from a guest lecturer in an environmentally-focused lecture series. This person was a 50-something year old guy who’d been bouncing from job to job, maybe 5 that were mentioned, all environmental gigs. They acknowledged their shifting around and said that while they hadn’t quite found a specific calling, but they did get to always work in the (environmental) field they loved and that was enough. It provided me with a sense of comfort – finally, an adult who doesn’t magically fall into a dream job or stay stuck in something they hate. Sometimes just floating around in your interests and keeping the passion alive in different ways is enough. In the face of pressure to settle into something, make bank and change the world, with the implied idea of finally figuring yourself out fully even though that’s a huge task, this guy was my hero.

So anyways, those are my dreams for now and I’m sure they’ll change again before I graduate. It’s a bit worrisome that I’m so all over the place, but as I said I can see a bright side in that. I’m more than ready to just go where life takes me, so maybe I’ll wind up left field doing wildlife photography or selling hand-knit hats at local fairs. Who knows! Until then this will be a resting series to be revived in the far future.

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>By the way, this post is second in a mini-series I’ll be posting about regarding my future dreams. It’s a continued post from Tuesday, which I’d suggest reading if you want to know who I am and what’s up with these dreams. Here’s the post: ‘The Pre-College Standpoint‘. After this one it’ll probably be about a year or more until the next update.

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