Every teenager knows the dread that comes when someone asks, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Well, for many of us, myself included, that question is getting a little too real. Now when we reply, we have to be a little more realistic because in just a few short years, we will be grown up doing the things we always said we would do when we were older.

I always like asking kids what they want to do when they grow up. It seems like every week that plan changes. I’m pretty sure at one point, we all wanted to be a professional singer, a veterinarian and, of course, an astronaut. I’m almost certain that, when I was five, I went through all of those in about a week. I also recall wanting to be a dentist, a ballerina, and teacher. Well, I can tell you that none of those are on my schedule now. To be honest, I don’t know why everyone is so obsessed with asking kids that aren’t tall enough to ride the big waterslide what they want to do for the rest of their life, but that beats me.

Being a junior in high school, I feel a lot of pressure to have my whole life figured out. I need to know what college I’m going to, what major I will go into, and, of course, how I’m going to pay for it all. And, I think it’s safe to say that I am not the only one. Our school hosts multiple events to introduce numerous college and career options and we’re expected to go on a few college tours a year to eliminate some options. As great as it is that we get out of school for a day to mess around on a college campus and eat college food instead of our bland-tasting high school food, I personally don’t think that these events are even very helpful in choosing where I want to go or what I want to do after I graduate.

As of right now, I have a few ideas on what I want to do with my life, but it’s fair to say that none of those are for certain. When I get out of high school, I know that I also want to get out of Nebraska. I feel that there is so much world to see to spend time staring at corn, but that’s just me. I want to live in a big city with tens of thousands of people who are too busy getting to their fancy business meetings to notice me tripping on my own shoelace.

Right now, I plan on doing something medical. If you asked me what I wanted to do a year ago, I can bet you that something like that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind. I guess Grey’s Anatomy is really getting to me. I haven’t yet figured out what division of the medical industry I want to be involved in yet, but I have a few ideas. Being a pediatrician or a general surgeon are both things that sound very interesting and are being considered. I am still working on a way I am going to pay for that though because I’m sure you know as well as I do that college is not cheap.

So, as much stress and pressure is put on us to get our future plans in line, I feel that it is all necessary in order to get us to face the facts. We aren’t going to be 16 forever, so it’s best that we have at least some things figured out before we get thrown into the real world.

In other news

Two speakers at the Nebraska Farmers Union state convention at Divots Conference Center on Friday afternoon offered visions of the future of Norfolk and Nebraska, one highlighting positive change and another painting a potentially grim outlook.