My underdeveloped prefrontal cortex and big life decisions… not a match made in heaven.

In one more month I will begin my last year in college. The most anticipated moment of my life is less than a year away. I have been thinking about my future a lot because now more than ever they are relevant! Why on earth does our society tell young ever-changing minds to choose their fate at 18 years old? Since deciding my major my freshman year, I have changed my career goals and wondered if I’m studying the right things more times than I can count. I started out wanting to be an optometrist. I decided money was better than happiness, because if I have money well at the least I can afford the things in life that make me happy.

By November of my freshman year, I quickly realized no amount of money could make biology and chemistry easy or pleasurable. I needed to study something that actually motivated me to go to school. I quickly changed my major to psychology, a study that has always fascinated me, and decided that I wanted to be a family and marital therapist. I transferred schools to have more opportunities to enter that field, hoping that it would also encourage me to stick with it. Well of course I had to have a major breakdown while writing a reflection paper about the future career my sophomore year. I realized, as I answered the prompts, that I was not even enjoying the idea of becoming a therapist. Not even a little bit. I quickly called my mom, hoping she would have all the answers.

During our conversation, all I could think of was a life enjoying the things I have always loved to do…. Traveling and practicing yoga. She told me that it is okay to have fears about not having enough money, but to not let things like letting my parents down get in the way of my happiness. So now my journey is really beginning, I want to travel and practice yoga. But still let’s be serious… how on earth can I make a living off that? Can’t say for certain, but I am willing to try whatever I can. The end goal is happiness. Not happiness from money, but from things I get pure bliss from. Like being in tune with my body and learning about different cultures, expanding my mind and spirit, and meeting new people.

So why exactly does our society expect 18 year olds to make important life decisions when their prefrontal cortices aren’t even fully developed? I have not the slightest clue. Maybe to make mistakes, maybe to have these “well shit” moments, or maybe to make us really question ourselves and what our intentions are. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing how my life unfolds. If I am happy everything else will fall into place.

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