by Audrey Garoutte
2018–2019 National TSA Secretary
I have always been a planner. I am the student with the color-coded pens—an agenda always at the ready. However, for a long time, there was a gaping hole in the midst of my systematic need for control in my life that stared me down and intimidated me: my career goals.
From the time that we are in elementary school we may be told we need to begin planning for our future. The older we get, the more we hear questions such as, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and “Where do you want to go to college?”
As time passed, more of my friends had answers to these questions while, without fail, mine would be, “I don’t know yet.” I would get a knot in my stomach each time I had to admit there was an aspect of my life that I had not yet planned. Reassurances that I still had plenty of time to “figure it out” did little to calm my nerves.
This all began to change earlier this year as a junior in high school. One of my classes started a career unit during which we had to choose professions that interested us. We whittled them down until we found a career to research extensively and shadow. I was skeptical. Despite my previous efforts to find my calling, I had little to show. However, this setting provided me with the structure and time I needed to actually sit down and think about my fast-approaching college and career options.
I realized my passion for the medical field, and, once the ball started rolling, everything started to fall into place. Suddenly I had ideas where I wanted to go to college, because I could consider their science programs. I realized nursing was not for me, but I wanted to become a doctor; specifically, a pediatrician, so that I could work with the same patients for 18 years.
Now, my career goals still are not set in stone. In fact, they almost certainly will change—maybe even before I graduate. Despite this, I can say with confidence that where I am now was well worth the wait. I did not have high hopes that I would get much of anything out of my college unit. In fact, I dreaded it. However, I was surprised by the outcome in the best way possible and learned that you have to put in the work to get where you want to be. After all, good things take time; April showers bring May flowers.