What Should I Do with my Life?

When I first came to college, I was pressured by my family to become a doctor. After all, coming from a long lineage of doctors, it seemed almost my destiny to do the same. So when choosing my major for UCLA, I chose Biology thinking that it wouldn’t be too bad. Oh, how terribly wrong I was. I hated my first quarter at UCLA in terms of classes, and I knew that I had to change my major or else I would be doomed to misery for the rest of my college career.

I then went to the career center and looked at the huge list of majors that UCLA offered. Sociology suddenly popped out at me as being something quite interesting, as I had done much social work in the past. I then announced to my family that I was changing my major from Biology to Sociology under much fear of how my family would react. Quite to my expectations, they were pissed off and thought that I was foolish for making such a decision. I told them that the major wasn’t making me happy, and simply dismissed happiness as something not important at all to the equation.

Regardless, I stood firmly by my decision and pursued Sociology. Before I knew it, I was totally engrossed into the subject. Little by little, I started to see the world in a new way, while feeling enlightened from all the new information that I was taking in. For the first time in my life, I started to actually enjoy what I was learning in school, rather than just trying to get that A. I soon started seeing past the grades and more on what I took out of classes, and if it was relevant to my life. I actually took classes that were interesting to me, rather than classes that sounded like an easy A.

I am now a senior and having another internal conflict based on what I want to pursue in my future. Law school always sounded like a half-decent default option that I was expected to go, but suddenly the field of Sociology seemed to start calling me again. Although I have had a great undergraduate experience in the field of Sociology, I feel that I have barely scratched the surface and there is just so much more to experience and learn. Therefore, becoming a professor and dedicating my life to teaching and learning more about the world around me sounded pretty appealing.

However when I told my family this decision I was once again shut down, and hard. They told me of how unreasonable it was to become a professor, how long it took, and how difficult and competitive it was. Although I did understand that there are those truths, none of them offered me their support. I then succumbed to their wishes, and decided that I would just take the LSATS and apply to law school like all of my other friends in the humanities department.

Just in the middle of this dilemma, I did the reading “What should I do with my life” and it truly opened my eyes. After just reading the experiences of a few other people facing with this ultimate question, it gave me a ton of relief knowing that I wasn’t the only person in this boat. Hearing their life stories about how they pursued their passions which led them to ultimate happiness also made a ton of sense to me.

Another question which was brought up in the reading was whether it was a better idea to earn money to support the dream, or simply to pursue the dream straight-on. If I were to become a lawyer, I probably wouldn’t earn that much money, because I would become a prosecutor or a public defender. However it would provide me with a stable job and income, while helping out the community which would bring me joy. Pursuing to be a professor, on the other hand, would be awesome because I can totally devote my life to the field of Sociology, which seems like a treasure chest full of opportunity.

However above both of these, I would definitely say my true passion is photography. I do not plan on pursuing it as a career, because I enjoy it more as an art than the commercial aspects. But on the other hand, what if I become a famous photographer and through exhibits and the sale of books, I could support myself? And perhaps in my down-time, I could help teach photography to other students? This has been another consideration too.

Although I don’t expect this course to help me in choosing my ultimate life-path, I know that it will definitely help me out. Drawing from the book “The Alchemist”, I will state the quote: “When you are pursuing your dreams, the world conspires in your favor.”


One thought on “What Should I Do with my Life?”

  1. What should I do with my life? This seems to be an increasingly difficult question to ask as the years go by. The options and routes to discover far exceed our own expectations. On the flip side, so do the disappointments and failures seem to devastate our motivations.

    What should you do with your life. You have to answer some basic questions. How important is family to you, both future and present? Do you plan to chase your dreams regardless of what roadblocks come in your way via family? Does what they plan out for you matter to you? You have to understand that a professional career has a higher guarantee for monetary compensation, which means a higher guarantee for stability and livelihood, as well as supporting those around you if need be. A stable family life almost definitely requires financial stability, but then again a instability can never be blamed for anything.

    What should you do with Your life. Then again, the question is exactly that. Your life. It’s YOURS to do with what you want when you wish. Strip away everything. Pressures: social, internal, familial, religious, moral..Expectations, needs, relationships, friends, family, wants and desires. Strip everything away and set yourself in a dark room, completely and utterly alone with no certainties or guarantees. Imagine yourself in this dark room with no way out, and no hopes to returning back to the comfort of your routine, daily schedule.

    What will you miss the most? What will you regret never doing? What is the thing that you yearn to experience one last time and you would be willing to return to this isolation if only that one thing can be physically real one more time?

    When all is said and done, there is no way of answering these questions. Fifty years from now, you may look back and you may be entirely content, and the answer to those questions will be: Nothing, I’ve lived a satisfied and complete life. Maybe the contrary–there are extremes and a million shades of variation in between.

    What ever it is that you choose to do, simply do it wholeheartedly. The best medicine is preventative medicine, which can be applied here in the same way. Know what you are getting yourself into, in the most fundamental ways. Are you willing to set aside your morals to manipulate the written laws to defend someone you never want to be? Are you willing to spend long years in school and long hours working with the sick and dying? Are you willing to spend your waking hours grading papers and exams, preparing lectures and presentations for naive, ravenous academia? Are you willing to spend days, weeks and months with no guarantee of salary to pay your bills while promoting your work and getting your name out there?

    These are all obvious cons, but I propose that you create a pro/con list and trash the cons because they will all have a price to pay, but once youre in it..cons are something that you will deal with regardless. Instead consider the pros. What will you wake up inspired to do every day, time and time again regardless of the pressures and expectations of the everyday world around you? What will put a rejuvenating little cloud of relaxation above your head at night when you go to sleep? What will be YOUR pride, joy and passion minute after minute, year after year, possibly for decades?

    There are no guarantees. Decisions change, desires change, and life changes. Do what you like and like what you do. Do that thing with a passion and you will not lose. I guarantee that if you put your entire life into it, grasp it, clutch it and run into the wild with it. Engulf your entire being into it and don’t let go until you’re ready or willing to move onto the next thing. If you do this, then it really won’t matter what you do as long as you are there in it.

    What should you do with your life? All I’ve left is the frame of mind in which you should do it, what you should choose to do is entirely your own. Make it your own, and I cannot wait to see you there.

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