Children, starting as soon as they begin elementary school, repeatedly get asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answers are usually far fetched dreams like being an astronaut, a princess, or the president. As these kids grow up and reach middle school, searching for careers becomes a serious task. Schools have provided websites such as Career Cruising to help students find the best job that fits each individual. While this process may have it’s benefits, since it introduces students to new ideas and possibilities for a job, it can also confuse students about what they really wish to pursue in the future.
I believe there are two aspects of the term “interest.” One would be the activities that you genuinely enjoy doing, such as reading, writing poetry, or even playing video games. These activities are classified as pastimes even though they are the ones in which we take the most pleasure. The other aspect is considered to be the activities we do for a specific purpose. In high school, having leadership roles in several extracurriculars is valuable for college applications and may even be considered a necessity. Are students truly fond of these activities or is it because they will benefit from a certain title or position gained? There are clearly several shades of gray in between these two categories. Often there is overlap between what we like doing and what we do for needs that go beyond the simple enjoyment in playing a sport or managing a school club.
Some students already have their hearts set on very specific careers. Their dreams may range from becoming a musician to a veterinarian to an engineer. These students know from the get go exactly what they want to do with their lives. What they have experienced in high school or in their childhood may have helped shaped the path they decide to follow. In contrast, other students, like myself, may be completely unsure about what they wish to pursue. Either way, the activities, both in and out of school, students are interested in will help them determine what the future has planned.
There is a significant line between simply being interested in an activity because it is a hobby and pursuing a certain career choice. For me, Career Cruising was not a genuine experience and the memories I have made within my extracurriculars hold much more significance. Instead of spending time using a computer to determine students’ future career, they should spend more time exploring their real interests. Whether you find a new sport to try out or decide to join a school club, the opportunities presented in life won’t end as long as you choose to be adventurous and take the dive.