Too Many Paths…Mistakes Were Made

You ever had the feeling that you chose wrong? That even though the choice you made doesn’t make you unhappy or overly wrong, it does not feel completely right, either? I have. I do. I feel that right now as I am finishing my junior year in college. I’ve made a mistake. Not a life-threatening, life-ending mistake, but a mistake.

Too Many Paths

When you’re in high school, they tell you to choose your major, your career path, the title you want to carry for the rest of your life. The things you do in high school can dictate what you do in college, the steps you take. But what happens when there are too many paths ahead of you? When you have so many things you want to do and see and so little options to do so.

Everyone I talked to knew what they wanted to do. My good friend, Chloe, knew she wanted to be a teacher. Always. She had her portfolio ready for employers before we even graduated highschool and went onto college. Another good friend, Paige, teetered between lawyer and teacher. She chose lawyer and now, she is onto law school.

My fiancé always wanted to be a human rights lawyer. He knew it from when he was very young. Me? I thought I wanted to be a software developer. Then a web developer. Then a graphic designer. Then a teacher. Then a journalist. Then a foreign policy negotiator for the State Department. Now? I simply just don’t know.

Mistakes were made.

Going Backwards

I want to change my mind. I can’t. Despite knowing for sure what I wanted to do, I change my mind. I want to go back to programming and coding, my first love for a hobby. A career that I would be happy sitting behind a desk for hours doing, even if I am mindlessly looking for bugs in the code and getting frustrated while I do it. I have a newfound love for what I used to do. Now, I want to go back to it. But can I? That is the real question.

Everything I Can Do

I have options, just as anyone in my shoes has options. The first being to continue the course. I have to continue to graduation; it is too late to turn back. However, I can find a career or job that I am relatively happy with to do so. A communications or marketing position to get me by. A low-level job in the state department. I can stay the course. I can keep going and not turn on my word to do what I said I wanted to do. I always wanted to be a writer. I might as well keep going as one in some regard. Right?

Another option I have is to continue to graduation but build a different portfolio for a different set of skills. Programming skills. After very brief research, I can review and build on prior knowledge from the past few years to aid in my hiring potential.

Courses in programming and coding are available for free and purchase everywhere.

I can start there, just like many people do. It will take a very long while, and some extra steps may be required down the line. However, it is possible.

All in All…

Starting over isn’t a bad thing and can be far from it. Sometimes, it is necessary to get to where we want to be. I have a long journey of starting over ahead of me, and my career has barely started. If you want to start over, find something new, or break up your routine, here’s what I recommend.

  • Find what it is you think will make you happy.
    • Start small, don’t quit your day job just yet. Find something you can slowly add into your everyday life and build on it. Find challenges, healthy challenges, to progress yourself. It can be almost everything, as long as it adds to your life, not take away from it.
      • For example, I’m starting with some simple coding courses. Nothing too big or expensive, just things to get me started.
  • Find your people. I guarantee you are not alone in what you do or want to do.
    • You will have a community somewhere. Be careful of online communities because they can be scary. However, there are people everywhere who have an array of hobbies. Want to be a crocheter? YouTube videos and craft communities are welcoming. Want to switch career paths? You’re not the only one.
  • Don’t let fear control you
    • It is normal to be fearful of starting over. It can be a long journey, but starting small can help with the fear. Something too big too soon can scare you away from what you are meant to be doing. What you are doing now isn’t inherently wrong. But if it doesn’t feel completely right, find ways to change that.
    • Sometimes therapy is helpful. Talking it out to an objective outsider can help you find your way. It is not meant for everyone, but it is definitely worth giving a try.

Sometimes, things just don’t feel right. That is okay. Needing a change does not mean something is inherently wrong, but that your full potential is somewhere you are not yet. I have feelings that I’ve done something completely wrong all the time. It doesn’t make it right, but it is worth finding out what.

Don’t be afraid of what’s out there. If you start over, even if you start completely from scratch, things get better. Sometimes, you just have to take the step to get there.