They’ll ask you “What do you want to do?”
It’s a perfectly fine question but the people asking really mean, “What do you want to do with your life?”
They ask this question as if your life is a voucher and you get to redeem it for One (1) Livelihood at the fair. They ask this question as if you’ll roll out of bed, fumble down the stairs, jog across a stage, snatch your diploma as you leap into the air, freeze triumphantly for just a moment like the end of some 80s movie, and land in the job you’ll have for the rest of your life.
Life doesn’t work that way.
And as long as life doesn’t work that way, I won’t answer your question.
Only 27% of college grads have jobs that are related to their major. You can see this as some kind of terrifying statistic of failure for Generation Y but I see it as a hopeful reminder that you are not bound to any lifestyle you may have been guaranteed when you graduated high school and decided to major in English.
As a rising college senior, I have changed my major from English to Creative Writing to Broadcast Communications to Theatre to Creative Writing with a Theatre minor. That’s all before I changed schools before my junior year and decided to major in Writing for Film and Television.
I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life when I was 18. But the problem wasn’t me. The problem was the question. To be honest, as a 21-year-old adult, I still wouldn’t be able to tell you what I want to do with my life.
But I can tell you what I want to do in my life.
- I can tell you that I want to write and produce quality television.
- I want to travel while I’m young and not after I retire like most people.
- I want to write a movie or two but not get totally caught up in film.
- I want to make baked Alaska and try not to burn anything down in the process.
- I want to keep writing plays and I want to branch out to new genres for new audiences.
- I want to see Sufjan Stevens in concert and be 90% sober while doing so.
- I want to paintball even though I’m pretty sure I’ll end up hurting myself.
- I want to go to Comic Con but I’d have to find a costume that I could rock.
- I want to finish writing my children’s novel.
- I want to open up a pie shop.
- I want to meet Bryan Fuller and thank him for making Pushing Daisies and inspiring me to write for TV and open up a pie shop.
- I want to publish a collection of non-fiction short stories in a memoir.
- I want to do stand up comedy a few times and not cry when doing it.
- I want to write love letters and try whatever “hot yoga” is.
- I want to see Starry Night in person and own my very own business.
- I want to visit Paris and wear a black sweater and tell people I smoked a cigarette but really just eat an entire baguette by myself.
Those are just some of the things I want to do in my life.
A life isn’t a ticket to be punched before getting on a ride. Life is the ride. You already punched your ticket when you came into this world. Now the rest is up to you. Do as much as you want and as much as you can in the time you have.