“They” - being parents, teachers, environment, loved ones painted a picture of “ if you do A, you WILL get B”. Did society fail us by not adequately preparing for the inevitable cycle of disappointment and confusion?
On one side you could be angry but on the other, can we really blame anyone?
Will I tell my 13 year old brother that his next great idea may not lead him down the path he thinks? Can you really ever be prepared?
Nobody really used to talk about all the weird inbetween stages from A that actually get you to B. With the growth of social media and this new “podcast era” a range of experiences are being highlighted and more realistic ideas of how success is achieved are being pushed forward. On the negative side of social media, people highlight their success, which they have every right to but is often sprinkled with a come up story of struggle and hardship. Which again i have no issue with. What is lacking in our generation where we “overshare” as some may argue, is sharing the state of confusion and not knowing what to do.
This could present itself in many forms such as not liking your initial path that you had idolised or completely feeling out of your depth constantly because nothing seems enough. These are things I struggle with and I know I am not alone. I am extremely passionate about a few things and I would be lying if I say anxiety hasn’t kept me up many nights with constant doubts and “what if”.
The realities are that you may be extremely enthusiastic about something, try it and HATE it… That is part of the process and if not the most important part in finding what you really like. Think about these things as your non-negotiables when it comes to your future career. There isn't a completely straight forward path and that is completely OKAY. There is so much we can learn from our mishaps, perceived failures or temporary confused state.
To add, there is a privilege in saying “no” to something you are not 100% passionate about because you have the luxury to explore other passions. In other parts of the world passion is just a mere hobby as there is no established industry to nurture talents. If you find yourself in this situation, I cannot speak from personal experience but going against the grain and networking across may turn your hobby into your actual career.
So i hope society begins to diverge away from the "I knew since i was a kid" to more transparency around the "i am 25 and still confused".
Thanks for reading
Here are some blog posts that highlight the crazy inbetween phase
Azro - A neuroscience Masters graduate that changed universities and took a gap year at the begining of her journey.
Elodie - A current Phd student studying malaria vector control but before that dropped out of her previous phd. She highlights this journey in an external post on "10 priceless things she learnt as a young scientist"
Borderless podcast - A bi-weekly podcast hosted by a young Sierra Leonean who is passionate about story telling. Discussions with people all over the world. Not science based but the discussions are interesting.