One of the questions I always used to hate when I was sitting around the dinner table when visiting family was “Hey, Niko, what do you want to do when your grow-up??” or some version of that.
Even when logging into WordPress, I forgot my password, and the “security question” was “What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a child?”.
Simply put, the future has been a huge topic of discussion for a large portion of my life, and throughout my college admissions process, this topic has been amplified, and I’ve been forced to answer many questions about parts of my life that haven’t even occurred yet.
Funny thing is, like most people, I don’t know where I want to be in a five years, I don’t even know where I want to be in five months. However, I’ve had a good idea. On those college searches, I’ve filled in “journalist” or some iteration of written media on any applicable prompt, and that’s what I’ve told my family and friends. However, there are lot of other areas that interest me, like Public Relations, Hospitality, Customer Service and Broadcast Media.
So, to help me understand career paths, I indirectly signed-up for the Green Careers Lab. I say indirectly because I basically found this program through another Central Park Youth program (both of which I recommend, highly)
The Green Careers Lab, in it’s third year, is run for the main purpose of having professionals in the “green landscape” share their story about their career paths and explain how they got where they got to high school students like me.We talked about everything, from Presidential Campaigns to AP Statistics, and frankly, I found the program extremely helpful.
Throughout the entire interviews, there were two common themes:
- Nobody had the same career goals from their childhood, or, in other words, no one had a linear route to their current occupation. There were fragments of their childhood goals, but their goals had all evolved, sometimes evolved because their interests had changed, and sometimes because the atmosphere around them had changed which in turn changed their interests.
- None of the professionals were 100% settled in. Everyone that talked to us had a lot of experience and for the most part were very gracious and happy with their current setting and routine. However, none of the professionals seemed like they had reached the end of the career journey, and a lot of them had a lot of plans and thoughts for the future.
So what did this all teach me?
Well, it will change the way I answer those dinner table questions. While it might sound somewhat cliché, being open to whatever life gives you, even if it’s something that appears un-appealing right now, is the most important thing one can do in the present. Sure, Journalism might interest me right now in 2017, and I have no plans of stopping. However, in 2020, in some college, I might become interested in Political Science, or TV Production, and I can’t do anything right now to change those natural emotions in the future.
If you live in the New York area and are still in High School, I highly recommend the Green Careers Lab. At first, I was a little un-sure of what dividends the program was going to provide, but, with time, I quickly realized how my career path is considerably less complicated than I thought it was, but so much more complex.
If you have any questions about this program or about careers, email me Niko@MetsPlus.com or tweet me @NikoMetsPlus.