Deciding on a career is hard in high school

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Anna Gulyas '23, Copy Editor

As I begin to apply to college and decide on a future career, it has become more evident to me that I have no true or notable passions that could translate into a job. Reflecting on the classes I have taken thus far in high school, I can only feel as though I have not been exposed to enough variety of subjects, nor have been able to hone in one specific thing that interests me.

Entering high school, I was highly encouraged, if not forced, to take orchestra as one of my three electives. Additionally, it is mandatory to take at least two years of a language, which caused German to also take up one of these limited elective spots. Being that most competitive colleges hope to see a language being pursued all four years of high school, I now had two-thirds of my free class space taken up for the entirety of my time in high school. This left me with one open spot, which I personally chose to fill with journalism– something that too would last all four years of high school.

In hindsight, I do not regret taking these classes as my electives. Although I hate to admit it to my parents who forced me into it, I do appreciate playing the viola in orchestra. I enjoy learning German and consider journalism to be one of my favorite classes. However, I can’t help but wonder where I would be if I had the opportunity to take those art classes, for example, I have always wanted to. Being that it has always been an interest and skill of mine, some sort of art-oriented career could have very easily been the path for me, but I was never able to truly test that out.

Of course, the obvious solution to this problem would be to simply take the classes I wanted to– to substitute one of the extra science classes I took to make room for an art class. But for students who aspire to go to a competitive school, it cannot be that simple. Instead of looking at the class list and picking them based on my personal interests, I as well as many others chose them based on “what would look good on a college application.” Although I may have built somewhat of a strong resume because of those classes I chose, I have no clue what to do with that resume.

With that, I wish there would have been more of a push for me to take a larger variety of classes that could actually spark an interest. In a way, I wish that I wouldn’t have been able to substitute so many credits for the same classes I was only taking because of their level of rigor. Most importantly, I wish that the college application process wouldn’t force students to feel obligated to push their curiosity aside in the hopes of being admitted to their “dream school.” Although attending a prestigious or highly ranked college is an incredible accomplishment and opportunity, its value lessens without a true passion being pursued with it.