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What should I be when I grow up?

04 April 2013

@ this point I was 57% of the way through school almost 10 years ago!!! 
I'm 27 years old. Or young. Or whatever. I am currently in 21st other words, I've been in school a VERY long time. Approximately, 80% of my life. It may be a little late, but I don't know what I want to do when I am done. I have always had a passion for teaching, especially at the college level. It is actually the reason that I decided to start down this path. But one thing that I do know is that I've had enough with bench science. 

I'm tired of the uncertainty of experimental outcomes. I hate the day in and day out failures as well as the adversity that ultimately accompanies research. There is a personal, emotional and mental cost to living at the cutting edge of discovery. Sure, it is neat when things are going well. But the bad times are dark without direction or hope. Maybe I'm just not built for this job? I loathe coming to this realization when I have about a year to go.  

Then what am I destined for? I want my life to mean something to this world. Who doesn't want their corner of the world to be a better place for those who follow? I certainly do. I dream of making an impression on people's lives. I want to be remembered fondly as a loyal friend, an encourager and someone that you can always count on. 

I guess the crux of the problem is that I am a planner by nature. I love to dream as well as dot my "i's" and cross my "t's." Why is so hard to let go and trust that all will work out? It has worked out before, it will certainly work out again! Reflecting back on how I got here, it becomes clear how doors opened where they should. I got into graduate school and met Mr. Collier which I don't know how that could have happened otherwise. He has been a true blessing in my life!  

I'm always afraid that if I'm not actively searching then I will miss out on one of those doors. Do you share the same fear? God has a plan for me. I know that. I suppose I need to shift my focus on the now.  


  1. I'm thirty mumble years old, and I've worked full time for about 18 years, but I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I suspect I'll still feel that way when I collect my Superannuation.

    1. Hi Kellie! Thanks for stopping by! Isn't it interesting how we grow up saying we want to be a "fill in the blank" when we grow up but when we actually get here, it is much less clear?

  2. Jennifer MalinowskiApril 4, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    Great blog post, Sarah! I think a major issue is the societal expectation that we are *supposed* to know what we want to be when we are 18 and then actively work towards making that our reality. I am a big fan of the path less traveled--as you might expect given my situation. And I also think that learning what we do *not* want to do is as valuable (or moreso) than figuring out what we do want to do. If you know that bench science is not for you, then accept that, don't let anyone tell you what to do.

    If you enjoy teaching, shift toward getting a teaching certificate. Your skillset will make you valuable in the classroom--as a parent, I cannot tell you how much I want my kids to have smart, knowledgeable teachers. Alternative paths to a teaching certificate exist for people who didn't have it figured out at 18. Or 22. Or who made different choices. If you want to teach at the college level, would you be willing to teach high school or community college for a while? That might expand your options and still put you where you can make a difference.

    I fee that life is hard enough to go through it not happy with your job. Yes, every job has issues, and no one can be happy _all_ the time at work, but if the positives no longer outweigh the negatives by a healthy margin, I'd say to move on.

    And remember you can always change your mind ;) The path might be more challenging, but if you want something, you will find a way to make it happen.

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! You make excellent points!

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