What I Should Have Studied in College...

Lately I've been thinking more about the experience of deciding upon your vocation.  Does anyone else find it odd that we ask people to pick their job when they are 18??  You can't drink yet, and you're barely old enough to be considered an adult, but there is this expectation that you would go to college, pick a degree path, and know how you want to spend the rest of your life.  As I think about it more, I realize just how strange that expectation really is for people.

Now, at 32, I'm starting to think more about what I really want to do with my life - and it's nothing that I went to school for or even thought about when I was an 18 year old IU freshman.  When I first went to school, I was all about theatre and journalism and writing.  And yes, those things are still part of my life and my passions - but they aren't really what I see my JOB as being anymore.  Instead, I've found myself drawn more and more to communications and marketing.  I'm fascinated by the world of social media and how it can directly affect the way a business, church or organization is seen by the outside world. 

At work, we recently started working with a local (Indy) business, Fishhook.  They are a Christian-based communications company that works hard to help non-profits tell their story in the best way possible.  The experience has awoken a long-hidden passion I had kind of forgot I even had.  There was a brief moment in college, about a semester, where I seriously considered changing my major from English to Marketing.  Had the desire for change not come at the tail end of my Junior year, I probably would have made the switch.  As it was, I was tired of being in school and ready to just be done.  So, I stuck out my English degree and went on with my life.

And now, as I look at my job, and I look at the future, I can't help but enjoy this new role communications is playing in my life once again.  Thinking about the best way to share the message of the church, and how to get a wide variety of staff members and volunteers all speaking the same language - is an exciting challenge.  While I don't know how long I will be in this role, I am thoroughly enjoying it!  I look forward to my meetings with the Fishhook team, and take real pride in my work when the compliment it.  I feel like that thing that was once just a passing wonder is starting to have a purpose again.

All of this is to say that I don't really think we're cut out to make life-long decisions at 18.  Who knows what they want to do with the rest of their lives when they're just tasting their first bites of freedom?  It's no wonder that my generation changes jobs so often - there are too many options we aren't even aware of until we hit those first college classes!


  1. Emily - love your post ... your questions, your honesty and your kind words! At age 18, I thought I knew so much and had so much to offer. Funny how your perspective changes when you realize how big and ever-changing the world is, and you're trying to figure out what God is calling you to in the midst of all of that. As for our recent work together (Fishhook/Sherwood Oaks), it is a blessing! We love working with you and the incredible people of Sherwood Oaks. Can't wait to see where God is going to continue leading this work!

  2. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Wow, Emily, you answerec a question I have had for almost 30 years. It now makes sense why I struggled so much to come up with what I wanted to do. First and foremost I wanted to be a mom, but if I had to pick a vocation---I was lost. It is now so obvious that you said that at 18, we have not had enough experience and exposure to know what we would like and would be good at...some of us. Some know exactly where their talents lie and what their passion is...but some of us are lost...and I felt stress not being able to figure it out. Some will do the same thing from age 21 to retirement, and some will change vocation as a vocation and life changes them. I like best what i heard a Chinese speaker say years ago: Our vocation is living for Jesus, our avocation is what we do in our work. CK

  3. Anonymous6:49 AM

    hello emily,
    i also agree that at 18 we can't make decisions that might affect the rest of our lives.
    my passion is foreign languages, and i regret not having studied French when i was 18. (i studied human nutrition instead).
    in 1991 i had the opportunity to work abroad, but i didn't take it.
    now i'm 45 and struggling to finish my teacher training course. i've been teaching English for years now, but teaching the first 3 years of secondary school is not fun.