Embracing uncertainty


Ella Naugle, former co-editor-in-chief

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher—it was my lifelong dream. 

Growing up, my sister and I made seating charts for our Beanie Boos. We played school together and created projects, rubrics, and posters. In high school, I volunteered with children and took all of the Child Development electives offered at South. I even interned at an elementary school during my senior year. I lived my life with blinders on, chasing the goal of becoming a teacher without question.

That was until the summer after graduating high school. 

For an easy summer job, I worked for a packaging company in Chicago. Though I was not planning on exploring business as a career, it turns out I got a lot more out of that summer than I bargained for. 

For the first time, I gave myself the space to explore a career path other than education. And yet, I was reluctant to “give up” on my plan of majoring in elementary education despite knowing that I would no longer pursue it as a career. This perplexed me. 

I realized that I was more afraid of changing the plan I had created for my life than admitting that I could do something other than teaching. I’m the type of person who loves a road map, a guide. I like to know exactly what I am working towards, and for so long my plan was education. Allowing myself the space to explore other majors and careers shattered this neat and organized plan I had for my life. I had written my plans in pen, and I did not want to have to cross things out and rework them. 

Everyone will tell you it is perfectly normal not to know what you want to major in, and frankly, that saying drives me crazy. I hate not having my plan neatly outlined, and I don’t think that will ever change. However, I have come to terms with having a messy plan that changes and grows with me.  

The greatest lesson I learned this year was to let my plan be chaotic and unfinished. Instead of writing my life in pen, I gave myself space to write in pencil and allow for erasing and redirection. Don’t be so caught up in what you think you want to do that you forget to explore the options around you. 

Now is the time to take a class that simply sparks your interest and has nothing to do with your future. Take advantage of clubs that excite you. Write your plan in pencil and don’t be afraid to course correct.