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Holly McCamant: Deciding on a future career

There’s a path that all people under the age of 30 will face at some point, starting at around age 4. It’s our career path.

When I was 4, I thought that being an astronaut would be the coolest thing ever. For me, becoming an astronaut didn’t seem that unrealistic; especially since my mom let me know that I had a cousin who was aspiring to be an astronaut.

However, that interest was soon taken over by my desire to be an author and illustrator. Jan Brett had my dream job. As I got older, I learned that writing is more fun than drawing; I would probably just want to stick with being an author.

Then for some reason in about seventh grade, I got convinced that I needed to become an agricultural scientist. Sure, I wanted to be a writer, but I was pressured into believing that I needed a backup field. Agricultural science seemed like the most reasonable field of science for me to go into because my parents are in it, and it was not in the medical field. Really, I can’t even hear someone describe an injury without cringing.

Eighth grade rolled around, and I realized that I hated even hearing about plant diseases. However, nanotechnology sounded cool and interesting. I thought that would be what I went into, but then I realized chemical engineering was basically the same thing but with more chemistry.

I like chemistry, so I thought that would be good to go into.

It was ninth grade when I started to see my love for different places and world events grow. However, I still felt pressured to be a scientist of some sort. The plan to become a chemical engineer still existed.

Then it came to my mind that out of all the subjects I do, math interests me the least. I’m decent at it, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing something I didn’t love.

So I came up with a new career plan: environmental chemist. This option, besides what I want to be now, was by far the smartest thing I had come up with. Working with chemistry and the environment would probably the best field for me in science.

By this point, my interest in international affairs was becoming evident to those around me. It’s always been there, but I realized that I could maybe do it as a job.

For me, it’s perfect because it involves lots of perspective and thinking with ideas. When I read through my dad’s copy of Foreign Policy magazine, this choice was a sealed deal in my mind. I was going to major in International Relations or a related field.

In my mind, I still felt I should double major and do science as my main thing. That possibility soon went away because I am way too passionate about international relations to need to have a backup plan.

Recently at my school there’s been a lot of focus on what we do after we graduate. Most of us haven’t thought it through.

When many kids my grade do think about it, we’re pressured. The big jobs are all in health care, business, engineering and law. These jobs are important, but they’re not the only ones.

Many times these jobs seem like the only options because when have we ever been told about other different fields you can go into outside of these four? We haven’t.  Most people my age have no clue what international relations even is.

These decisions that we make now may not be permanent, but they will affect where we go to college. Where we go to college has a huge influence on our life path.

Don’t pressure someone into a field.  Don’t let someone pressure you into a career path you don’t want.

If you are deciding your field or career, do what you love but make sure that you can get a job. Don’t trick yourself into doing something that seems practical but you don’t like, and don’t major in something that has no available jobs.

In either case you’ll be upset; whether you’re hating your job or driving a taxi when you have a doctorate degree.

I don’t know how I could ever possibly love being an agricultural scientist. I am aware, however, that if you get me talking on anything international, I won’t stop talking.

Holly McCamant is a sophomore at Frazee-Vergas High School.