You Don’t Need to Have A Set Career Path Just Because Everyone Else Says You Do

To all of my liberal arts majors out there. This one’s for you:

(Actual conversation I had about a month ago)

My friend’s mother: Graduating huh? Have you found a job yet? What are you studying?

Me: Not yet. I’m studying philosophy

My friend’s mother: Ooh. It’ll be tough for you to get a job. What are you going to do with that?

Me (sweating): Uhh.. I’m not really sure yet but I’m open to many possibilities, particularly in the world of fashion. I’m still exploring different industries.

My friend’s mother: *face of pity*

I’m Nat. I’m a senior here at Boston College studying philosophy and I have never completely left the exploration stage during my time here. So what have I been doing this entire time? I have spent these past four years learning more about myself and cultivating meaningful relationships. Do I know exactly what I want to do yet for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. But, does anybody really?

Many people might think they want to spend the rest of their lives teaching, or investment banking, or finding the cure for cancer. But, the reality is we never really know who or where we’re going to be 5 years from now. I barely know what I’m going to have for dinner tonight let alone what I’m going to dedicate the rest of my life to. And that’s okay. The beauty of college is that it’s your time to explore and you can use all four years for exploration if you need to!

I’d like to rework the expectations some might have of college. During these four years, you discover a variety of potential careers you could pursue. College sets you up for the start of job exploration. It doesn’t end when you graduate. You can finally use  all of the skills and knowledge you’ve spent four years gaining and put them towards finding the right first job for you.

I can honestly say that I’ve discovered more about myself during my four years at BC than I ever have before.

Some advice to anyone of any age out there still exploring: Embrace it! Don’t fear it. Let it fuel you. Let it motivate you. Enjoy every second of this exploration phase because now is the time to ask all of the questions without having the answers.

You’re allowed to be a little lost. You’re allowed to be a little uncertain. Relish it! Relish the uncertainty and instead of seeing it as something obstructive see it as something that opens up a whole world of possibilities. Try new things. Fall and get back up. It’s the journey of life and we’re all going at it in our own way and at our own pace. Don’t listen to the white noise around you (a.k.a my friend’s mother).

As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Only that it’s not a race against your peers it’s a race against yourself and you decide what course to take, what pace to run at, and how you define the victory.

—By Nat Murcia, MCAS ’19 and Peer Career Coach at the Career Center

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