Paving Your Path – A Sophomore Perspective

The first time in my life the other day, I went through an anxiety breakdown. Which is funny to say when I think about it now because what broke me down wasn’t and shouldn’t be that big of a deal in the first place. But being me, an inexperienced, scared, and turbulent 16 year old, I over-analyzed and harboured my stress about choosing my IB Courses to the point that I broke down and cried. I told myself I was being over-dramatic and weak and that no one at my age would cry over such a minuscule thing because I assumed everyone had it all figured out. But now that I’ve recollected myself, thinking about the future, career choices and adulthood must have scared tons of other people besides myself, and that it was only rational to freak out, even if it’s just the IB.

Tenth grade has been one of the most difficult and life changing years for me. Not just because of the Personal Project, but because of the amount of significant things I’ve discovered that my simple and adolescent mind is not yet capable of processing. And now with the IB approaching, for a 16 year old to be able to choose a path in life based on 4 years of education seems almost ludicrous. How am I supposed to know who I will be if I don’t even know who I am?

I had let that question bother me for the longest of time, but I’ve come to realized that I shouldn’t be let down or unmotivated by that fact. A lot of people, even in adulthood dare I say, have experienced having an identity crises at some point in their lives, so it’s not about your age that slows you down or makes you any less confused than you will be in 10 years, but it’s the way you perceive things.

Avenue of Mysteries by Tatsuro Kiuchi

In the beginning, people asked me what my ‘path’ for the future is, what job I wanted to do, and I’ve been told to have ‘it’ figured out, to choose the courses related to my majors in college and to choose ‘easy 7’ courses. I thought of taking courses that would benefit my family’s business in the future and lead me to a sufficient lifestyle, even if I didn’t necessarily like it, because that path is more set in stone than the path that would allow me to do the things that I liked. After all, it was all that I understood, considering no one told me that I was allowed to do what I was passionate about.

Afterwards, I also talked to the many intellectual and experienced teachers in UNIS, and found that I had more options than I thought. It was the first time that I had ever heard an adult say that their life had not been figured out until their second year of college, or until they found a job that they never intended to do but ended up being passionate about. It was also the first time I’ve heard an adult say that they regret the choices they didn’t take and appreciate the choices that they accidentally took. It was the first time I’ve ever been so inspired to do the things I liked than the things I needed to. Of course, there isn’t a true, concrete path that could satisfy everyone and everything, but the exciting thing about the future is not knowing. Rather than drawing a direct line to something that may never be, it may be better to see where it leads to.

I wish someone had told me earlier to calm down, take a breath and enjoy education without the fears of the future. It’s not like saying to totally disregard my future plans, but to take things one step at a time, and to do so with pleasure rather than worries. I wish someone had encouraged me to do what I want and to follow my dreams earlier, because believe it or not, it’s a lot harder to follow your passion than listening to instructions. But it’s never too late. So, here I am to tell you, my dear reader, to be less doubtful and anxious about the future, because it’s totally okay to not have it figured out yet. I hope I was able to help you see the bigger picture so that you can dig further for a passion, practice more at what you’re good at, and live in the moment, because in the end, you control your own happiness. Know that whatever choices you make won’t decide who you are, so don’t worry about the future, go where life leads you.