Every day, children all over the world are asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most tots respond with lofty dreams of becoming pirates, ice-cream tasters, ninjas, warrior princesses—or the first Indian American woman president, as I once said.
When I was in elementary school, I always thought I would be a pediatrician. I genuinely believed that since I was born at Stanford Hospital, I would go to Stanford University, become a doctor, and practice at Stanford. As soon as I realized that blood and guts made me queasy, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
By the time middle school rolled around, I was too preoccupied with Boyz II Men, egg babies, and mini-backpacks to think about my career. If anyone had asked me during that time what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, “I’m going to be a rock star or a backup dancer for Madonna.” Fortunately for the eyes and ears of the general population, that dream didn’t pan out either.
During high school, I realized how much I adored traveling and experiencing other cultures. I decided to major in international studies and become an ambassador. I had visions of learning ten languages and living in dozens of countries, all while dressed in a smartly cut suit. After college, I even moved to Washington, DC, for a stint to try my luck at achieving my dream. I promptly learned that our nation’s capital and politics were not where I belonged.
Today, at the age of twenty-six, I still have no clue what I want to be when I grow up. Fortunately, I have a greater awareness of what I’m good at and what I suck at. My philosophy is to take each day to learn a bit more about myself and my strengths in the hope that one day everything will just fall into place. I mean, it has to eventually, right?
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