Did you know what you wanted to do when you were 18?

by Jamie Sanford on March 5, 2009

Thomas Hall 3.Photo: One of my first dorms at the University of Florida in Gainesville. I had a great experience there but jumped around academically - I had no idea what I wanted to do!

As anyone reading this blog regularly knows, I am nearing completion of my BS in Marketing.  While it’s been tough to balance work and school and trying to improve my photography and having a life, I am so much more excited to be in school now than I was when I was 18.

I didn’t know anything when I was 18!  How was I supposed to know what I was going to be passionate about, what I wanted to do, at 18?  (Don’t get me wrong here, there are some people who know it from the beginning, I have a few friends who followed their dreams that they had been after forever and I’m very happy for them.)  All I’d been doing was musical theatre and working at the grocery store.  I loved theatre (still do) and originally wanted to pursue it – but I’m playing no regrets here so it is what it is.

It saddens me more and more to know that in this country, kids are pushed to go to college right away, most with no experience in anything.  How many people do you know with a degree in sociology or history or telecommunications that is working in the next cube over, doing the same generic business stuff that everyone else is doing?  I got very lucky in that after I left school, I quickly found a job, in a business/office environment, and after trying out different things within the organization, I really found my niche.  I have pursued that both at my organization and with this educational track, I knew what to go back and study this time which has made it much easier to continue.

My point is, I find that becoming educated now in “traditional” marketing topics is completely brilliant.  I have experience now, I’ve been working at the same organization for 7 years, I am doing a certain level of marketing in this arena, I have a mind that buzzes with ideas all of the time.  This is a perfect fit to accompany my learning, and I’m seeing that although marketing has changed so much even in just the last few years, the content I’m being presented with as the core curriculum for the marketing degree is completely relevant.  I’m able to grasp concepts better from the beginning because I’m already using them – I retain way more information than I ever did when I was in college the first time, BECAUSE I CARE about what I’m doing now.  I am so invested in it because this is what I want to do, this is what I expect to be doing and enjoying (I hope) for the rest of my life.

I can’t regret leaving school when I did – sure, it would be nice to be able to focus on my life more or to be pursuing an advanced degree already, but that’s not the path I ended up on.  I did the right thing at the right time, and I don’t doubt that I’m right where I’m supposed to be now, if in no other area than getting ready to complete this program.

Question: Did you know what you wanted to do at 18 when you were faced with continuing higher education?  What did you do?  Does your current job have anything to do with what you studied in school?

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