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What’s in store for the future?

BY ERIKA OSTROFF

As my final year in high school is crawling to its end and my commencement of college is drawing near, what once was a far-reached fantasy is turning into a harsh reality. The age-old question, “Erika, what will you be when you grow up?” is the unavoidable whisper in my ear. Though the proverbial reply of a 4-year-old girl would be a ballerina, an ice skater or a glamorous princess, it behooves me to tap into reality and choose a path. Journalism, that’s it! I want to be a journalist ... or do I?

Ever since last year, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to major in the fields of communications and journalism. Whether I was going to be pacing Wall St. in New York City fighting to get the latest news on the stock exchange, or I was going to be an anchor announcing breaking news on the local news channel, I knew that my future laid somewhere within the field. I wanted to be the product of people’s thoughts, the hub of information and the image projected onto the big screen. I wanted to be part of the dissemination of information and news worldwide and help teach the public what to think about, even if they cannot determine what to think. I wished to be the puppeteer of information and be of service to people, projecting voices, facts and news in a truthful way. At least that’s what I thought I wanted to do.

It was not until I attended the La Jolla High School Mariner’s Club career fair that I really began to question my place in the future. I walked into the auditorium with my friends completely mindless of how I would walk out. For all my innocent mind knew at that moment was that I was going to be a journalist and nothing could sway me from that decision. I was at the fair mainly to support my good friends who are the Mariner’s Club presidents, and not so much for the content.

On stage, there was a panel of successful women, all with varying occupations. The career fair featured Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, author Kim Doran, biologist Corrine Pisacane, Realtor Lee Stoeke, museum curator Lucia Sanroman and attorney Victoria Hill — an eclectic group, to say the least. The women on the panel spoke about their lives and what led them to their current occupation. To my astonishment, most of the women presenting had several occupations within their lifetime, often choosing a field that strayed far from their intended major. And then it dawned on me. I am 17 years old, just short of finishing high school, and I am constantly being prodded about the direction I want to assume in life. Might it be premature to determine such a thing?

What most teenagers fail to realize, including myself, is that amid numerous college applications that demand us to choose a specific major, in retrospect there is no need to be glued to one career. With the pressures of applying to college and choosing a major, we feel compelled to choose a specific academic path to set our heart on. We often feel hesitant to click the ever-so-intimidating “Undeclared Major” button, thinking that colleges would prefer to accept ambitious, certain and visionary students who are driven toward a specific field.

Attending the career fair made me realize that there is more than one strict path to becoming a success, but more importantly, as said by Stoeke, it is paramount to “find what you (we) love and there will be room for you (us) at the top.”

Erika Ostroff is a senior at La Jolla High School and an editor for the school newspaper, The High Tide.