What do you want to be when you grow up?
For most, this question is daunting. You haven’t even graduated high school, yet there are people coming at you from left and right asking for your life plan. Highschool alone is overwhelming, so why are we putting so much pressure on teens?
Since I was in kindergarten, I have been asked this question. Of course, back then, my hopes were a little higher with the dreams of becoming a princess. As I have aged, my ideas are becoming a little more realistic and my stress level is getting a little higher. There are so many careers out there, how am I supposed to pick one? How do I know which I am most passion about, which will support me financially, or which will require the right amount of schooling?
Besides the amount of stress that this question carries, is this question even as relevant as we have been believing it is? Is a career so important that it comes before how a person wants to be? Maybe you want to live in a small town or city, be rich or just financially stable, have a family or live alone. These are the things we should be concerned about, not what career we are choosing.
What are the things that you value?
Based on a survey I conducted, only 28% of kids know what they want to be when they grow up. Almost all of the kids knew what they wanted in life. The majority valued small towns, comfortable living, and family. After I asked them what they valued, I asked them what kind of career could support that lifestyle. Even though they all had similar values, they all had completely different answers. The career choices ranged from farmer to professional athlete to dentist. Based on this research, maybe asking people how they want to be, rather than what they want to be, can lead them to find a career that they would be interested in.
Some people believe that asking kids what they want to be when they grow up can help them begin to make a life plan. Now I will ask you this, how important is a life plan? 80% of college students change their major at least once. This means that 80% of people who thought they had their lives figured out had to switch it up at least one time. According to this data, asking kids what they want to be when they grow up is not only unnecessarily stressful, but it is also pointless altogether.
Asking teens what they want to be when they grow up is stressful, misleading, and irrelevant. Kids in high school have enough to worry about with schooling. It is much more important to ask a kid how they want to be when they grow up or what they value. Furthermore, it is almost completely irrelevant due to the fact that college students change their minds so frequently. Think of these things the next time you ask someone what they want to be when they grow up.