Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.
The world I live in is one where we are expected to make some of the biggest decisions of our lives at 18. We have to choose what to do after high school; study at a university, study at community college, join the military, or start work straight away. Even if we eliminate the last two and just narrow the decision to going to college, the decision remains large as there are over 7690 colleges in the Unites States and even more in the world, so we are expected to narrow this down to where we will spend the next 4 years of our lives. We are still faced with a hard decision: what major. How are 18 year olds supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives? As kids, we are exposed to all the easily marketed jobs like fireman, policeman, accountant, doctor, salesman, nurse, teacher or astronaut, and that's what you choose from. I chose astronaut. But, then we grow and discover more. Through career days and meeting parent's coworkers and friends, we discover more diverse careers. I discovered engineering and realized that that might be a more reasonable career choice than an astronaut and leverages my strength in math and science. Then we start exploring these new found career paths, find a subset and hone in on what we will do for your entire life. After talking to several civil engineers and working with them at the COSMOS summer program at UC San Diego, I decided on civil structural engineering. And for a time, I was sure this was what I would do.
But then the troubling part comes, when I started to discover other opportunities and the hard truth comes out. There is no way I am ready to make this decision as my under prepared 18 year old mind can barely decide where to go surfing or what to eat for lunch let alone long term career plans. With so much worry and self-doubt, I kept reconsidering if I was really making the right choice of school and major or maybe I should go right back to the top and choose a different path or just not even go to college.
But when I was riding my bike to school, I had an epiphany; I had figured it all out. The simple fact of being a teen is not that you have to have it all figured out, but instead that you are always in the process of figuring it out. So many people go to college undecided because college is designed to be a place where we can discover what to do in the future. It's fine that I may prefer civil engineering now and aerospace next week, I'll just give one a try and fully apply myself to that direction and I can always change. I know that there is more than just one major that will take me to my long term goal of being an astronaut (I never really out grew that one). I know I'll be fine in the end. I do what I love and I work hard. So, I know I may not have it all figured out now, and circumstances can always change, but I know whatever direction I go it will be just fine.