Tomorrow I graduate from Clarkson University as a the top student in Computer Engineering, and I am absolutely petrified. Scared of what the future holds for me. Now this is not an existential crisis for once, but more about me not being sure if I will be able to accomplish my goals. This is worrisome for all undergrads as they take the stage and get their diplomas, but for me it’s a little bit more; I’m not even certain what my goals are anymore. Somehow, when I was younger, this was a much easier topic to tackle. I had my life “figured out” multiple times when I was younger. But it always came back to two things: 1. Being a theoretical physicist and 2. Being an engineer at IBM research. To some people these may seem very different in the sense that the fields aren’t related, but other people may know how much physics is involved in engineering. Regardless of what similarities or differences people see in this, there was something I saw personally that really hit home; I wanted to do something that could change the world.
Coming to a realization about careers is usually helpful right? Well this is… well it’s not what you could call a good direction to go in. It’s way too broad a direction for me to try and travel. That’s like being told that the coffee shop is ‘over there’ without the person pointing or even nodding, not a whole lot of new information is brought in. Anyways back to my situation. Knowing I wanted to do something that could change the world was very vague because there’s a million and one ways to change the world. So I tried to add more to that from my two recurring life plans. I ended up with a little more info:
- I should be in the field of Science & Technology
- I should find a subfield in need of a breakthrough
- I should do something I love
Now I’ll admit it’s not really that much more information. As I said before I’m a Computer Engineer, so I can check number 1 off. My subfield is still young with plenty of potential everywhere, check. But number 3, that’s the one that gets me. That’s the one that’s truly holding me back from having those goals. Because I don’t know what I want to do, I don’t know what I want to achieve.
Getting to this point I know a lot of people would easily be able to answer what they love in their field. But for me, nearly every topic I have touched on in my studies and my professional experience I have found joy in. Sure some were more enjoyable than others, but obviously none really jumped out at me or you wouldn’t be reading this.
I would like to tell you that I was able to figure out what I really love in my field and what I wanna do. But the truth is, I don’t, I might not know for awhile. It seems I’ll have to explore that for myself after I have my diploma in hand. For tonight though, I will be scared. I’m allowed to be.