Moving Beyond Perfection

When the road turns into a pitchfork

Posted in Uncategorized by Kathy on July 22, 2009

All my life, I’ve pretty much walked down a straight road path. Although no one has ever forced me to do anything, I’ve received a lot of guidance in my life. I’m grateful for all the advice and help I’ve received, but what happens when the straight road suddenly turns into a pitchfork?

When I was in middle school and even perhaps the start of high school, I had this obsession of becoming a lawyer one day. I loved studying court cases in school, reading books with plots that involved lawyers, and my favorite word to use in the 5th grade (even my parents can attest to this) was “hypocrite”. I loved to debate, and argue, and make my point- it felt great when I could prove someone to be a hypocrite :) Plus, the word sounded so sophisticated at the time. My favorite subjects included math and history, but now that I think about it, the main parts of history that I loved all revolved studying legal, government, or economic issues.

I’m not sure when the switch went off, but one day I chucked “lawyer” out the window. I learned that the life of a lawyer was a workaholic one, and since I’ve always known I would someday want kids of my own and an actual life, I decided law was not suited for me. I don’t know why I didn’t even think twice about it.

I also don’t know why I thought a career in finance would allow anymore work-life balance than one in law. If anything, the hours seem to be quite comparable, minus the whole going to law school first thing. But I enjoy school. School doesn’t seem so bad.

This is not to say I want to become a lawyer again, but I just realized I never truly explored my options. There were always 3 main ones on my radar:

1) Pre-med –> I love chem, and I love studying human physiology, but just plain biology drives me insane. So I said no to this one.

2) Become a Professor –> Maybe this one is still on my radar. I’m not sure. It was a little depressing to learn about how few women become tenured in the economics field when I took my junior seminar on Careers and Family this past fall. Clearly, there is still gender inequality. But the general thought of going to economics grad school for a phD does not exactly excite me.

3) Work in Wall Street –> Since 1) and 2) for the most part got chucked out the window, I chose 3.

But I forgot to think about 4) which is OTHER. And now I am getting quite distressed that I am finally a senior, with only 1 year left and just simply not enough time.

How is it possible that I thought I knew exactly what I was doing freshman, sophomore, and junior year, but now am CLUELESS senior year?

I’m generally a risk-averse person, so I hate taking chances on my future. But this is my future. And my future is my happiness. But how can I take a chance when I’m not even sure of what I want to do? All I hope is I don’t screw myself over.

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5 Responses

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  1. keri410 said, on July 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    That’s one thing I’ve had to learn to cope with is being OK with the path you are on and realizing that things don’t HAVE to stay the same. Life will change, you may end up hating what you do for a living and changing to something completely different. My Dad likes to comfort me by saying that it really doesn’t matter (your major) as long as you get a degree… I’m sure being a Harvard graduate of anything will always look good on your resume, so don’t stress over it! Enjoy your senior year and realize things can ALWAYS be changed!

  2. Charlene said, on July 22, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    I know no matter what you do, you’ll be awesome. I can totally see you being a doctor though– I wouldn’t think twice about letting u cut me up hehe :p

  3. specialkphd said, on July 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Lord, I wish some one told me this: Don’t figure it out now, because you won’t “figure it out.” Focus on WHO you want to be, not WHAT. I know you have to “plan” for courses and things, but really, know that if you went the wall street route now, and didn’t like it after a few years, you could go to med school then. What parts of you do you want to enhance? Also, I wish that in college, they made you talk to people actually doing what you think you might want to do. Try interviewing each of these people…

  4. Grace said, on July 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Hey Kathy! My first comment on your blog! I totally understand how you feel. To be perfectly honest, I have no words of advice to give you, except my dad always says that you have to enjoy what you do, or even when the work gets tedious, feel that your work is your life’s mission. Hope that helps!

  5. Madelin said, on July 27, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Great Blog! I’ll be coming back to read more when you start writing again. I just wanted to say it’s never too late to make a change. I’ve just left a career as a lawyer after 6.5 years because I wasn’t happy. There are lots of jobs out there for which your training will be useful! Good luck!


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