Choosing the Rest of Your Life (Maybe)

Winter 2015/2016

Liam Lawrence

Schulich Leader at McMaster University

Making a decision is tough. As I am now officially more than halfway through my degree, my thoughts are turning towards the future after my undergrad. I feel a paralysis in whatever part of the brain is responsible for choice, because I do not know what to do following graduation. I am, of course, hardly the first person to go through this. 
I know where I want to end up broadly: I certainly made the right choice in my decision to go into engineering. However, I feel a pressing need to choose a specialization, especially considering my plan to attend graduate school. Grad school means becoming focused on a particular subject area – but I find myself interested in too many things! It seems like every week this semester I changed my mind about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (which sounds a bit silly, looking back). In a little less than six months, I will be registering for fourth-year courses which could influence the path my career takes into grad school and beyond. 
My mind bounces back and forth between panicking over such a decision, and admonishing myself for being melodramatic: ultimately, it’s not a huge deal what courses I take. If I change my mind about my career goals, I can always learn what I need to change tracks. Right? Right?!
I have this desire to commit to a direction for my career so I can begin practicing the skills necessary to follow that path. It takes a huge amount of time and work to develop mastery in a subject, and I want to become an expert in a certain area. My problem is I can’t figure out what course to set in a sea of possible goals. I know I must share this uncertainty with other Schulich Leaders, and countless undergraduates across the world.
If you’re reading this article and nodding your head, I understand exactly how you’re feeling. If it helps, I find comfort in the thought that I’m so privileged to have this kind of decision to make. If you know where your interests lie in a broad sense at least, and if you have the drive and desire to make an impact on the world – even if you don’t know the specifics – you almost certainly have an interesting life ahead of you regardless of your ultimate path.