Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What do I want to be when I grow up?

My eldest, now fifteen, has just received the booklet outlining her subject options for next year. Next year is form five, also now more commonly known as year 11 and the first year of externally graded qualifications. We have both been looking at the booklet probably with different reactions. One of mine is sheer jealousy. She can pick things like photography, drama, japanese, graphics, computer studies and practical hospitality. But my favourite is 'writing for publication'. Jeepers! I would have killed to do a subject like that. If I'd had the chance to do that it might not have taken me another twenty years to admit I wanted to be a writer and get on with the job of trying to be one. In my fifth form year we could do art, two languages, music, sewing or cooking as options, history, geography or economics. They get to choose those as well as all the cool new things. So yeah, I'm a bad shade of green. However one thing doesn't change. My daughter is sitting there thinking 'what do I want to be when I grow up?' That question never disappears. What I thought I wanted to do when I was her age isn't what i have ended up doing now. I spent a lot of years in between studying science, and working in hospital administration to end up as a writer. But I'm more satisfied with my choices having made a few wrong turns along the way. And nothing is wasted. But I know from personal experience that not being sure now is not a bad thing. My advice to her now is to pick the subjects she feels most interested in no matter where they might lead. The more you enjoy something, the better your chances of doing well and finding a job down the track that plays to your skills and makes you happy. Nothing is wasted but also there is nothing to stop her, like me, studing different things in the future and changing where she is heading. Life is full of opportunities.

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