Hi! I'm Rachel and I am an upcoming junior in high school. I love science, mathematics, history, and so much more! I am also a musician and I have played the violin for most of my life! But over the years I have enjoyed experimenting with other instruments as well such as guitar and piano. I can't wait to share some of my tips and tricks with you guys that I think will help you succeed in school and beyond!

A wise man once said, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” As teens, many of us do not completely know what we want to pursue as a career in the future.

I am one of those teens, and the idea of this completely freaks me out! I mean, it is one of the most important decisions I will make in my lifetime. How can I not know? What if the career path I choose won’t be right for me? What if I won’t be happy?

This predicament is way more common than you may think. Surveys have shown that 20-50% of students go into college with an undecided major! In addition, 75% of students change their major before they graduate!

My music teacher and role model (Zarina Lagayava) was one of the lucky ones. She knew exactly what she wanted to do at a whopping 8 years old! However, discovering and pursuing her dream was not at all smooth sailing. As Ms. Lagayava stated, “My father always said he envisioned me in a white coat, with a stethoscope around my neck. She even had steady, nimble hands – perfect for a surgeon… or a musician. Regardless, she was going to become a music teacher.

Even if we don’t know what career we want to pursue yet, most of us are pretty set on the life we want in the future. We all want to be rich with a nice house and cars. We want to live a life full of success, luxury, and happiness. What if I told you that you can achieve this and that every day you are getting closer and closer to this “dream life”? Allow me to explain.

Figuring out what career to pursue

How did she do it?

This represents the million-dollar question…literally. The road to this “dream life” is often long and grueling. However, we all need to start somewhere.

First things first, we need to find out what we love to do. I know, easier said than done. I asked Ms. Lagayava this question.

She told me, “For as long as I could remember, I would go with my mother to the movies. I would memorize the songs I heard, and sing them wherever I went. After seeing the music schools in my city and I would beg my mother to buy any instrument for me. I wanted to play music so that I could go to that music school.” She got her first violin at the age of 8 and taught herself to play. She then auditioned for music school and got in.

“Sometimes my teacher in music school didn’t explain how to play a composition properly. So, I would sit outside of other teacher’s classrooms and listen to how they explained it to their students. The teachers in the school questioned if I even went to a regular school. I was always there,” according to Ms. Lagayava.

How can I apply this to my life?

Finding your strong passion for something may not be as effortless as it was to her. However, the general idea of discovering your passion is the same for everyone. Take a step back and look at your life as a whole. What are your hobbies? What subject in school do you enjoy most? Is there a subject or activity comes easy to you?

After answering these questions, you still haven’t figured out what you want to do with your life. If you like playing basketball, that does not mean that you want to become a player in the NBA. Despite this, that love of basketball, or even sports in general, opens up a multitude of careers to explore. This includes sports manager, sports physician, sports/fitness nutritionist, and way more! It all depends on how you answer those questions.

If you are that person that answers “nothing” to all those questions, then dig deeper. There is always something. You could say that the only thing that makes you happy is food. If that’s the case then you could be a food critic, restaurant owner, a chef, and so much more.

Today, we have plenty of resources to discover careers based on your hobbies. Some of my favorite websites for researching them are themuse.com, and jobmonkey.com. You can even discover and experience them yourself through programs like nyexploring.org. Once you have some ideas about what you would like to pursue as a career, you are one step closer to that dream life!

What About The Money?

The longing for this luxurious dream life can give us tunnel vision for careers such as being a doctor or a lawyer. I will admit that these careers have the potential of getting you there. They can pay a very large salary, but only if you like your job.

Think about it. If you are miserable with your job, you will want to work the bare minimum of hours. However, you will have to be there for at least 8 hours a day. Also, you won’t put your best efforts because you won’t like what you do and won’t take pride in your work.

Thus, you won’t get the greatest amount of money you could get from the job. You won’t be able to live in luxury. Most notably, you won’t be happy or successful because you aren’t doing what you like and are miserable.

Besides, these careers are competitive. You are competing with people that have genuine passions for these things! Ms. Lagayave stated, “I made more money than some doctors from where I live. There were so many doctors, but there weren’t that many musicians.”

Unless your passions do match up with careers like medicine and law, it may not be worth going for them. With a career doing what you love, you will make the most money possible from that job. As a result, you will be happy because you are doing what you love. With all the money that you make, you will be able to afford a luxurious life. Overall, the only way to your dream life is through doing what you love!

The parents’ influence on career choice

Telling The Parents

Many parents are also completely set on their children being doctors and lawyers. To counteract this, how do you tell them that you don’t want to do that if you desire a different career? Well, Ms. Lagayava was in this same situation and it wasn’t easy.

According to her, “My father was friends with the dean of this prestigious medical institute in my city. He handed me all the tools to get into this school. But I said no. I love music. So, instead I applied for a music school in my city, but I did not get accepted. This relieved my father and he quickly began signing me up for the medical institute. But my music teacher informed me about another music school in another city nearby. I applied and got accepted into that one.”

Through her entire journey, she had to do everything herself. After all, she chose her own path, so her parents couldn’t hand anything to her. She had to work for and earn it all by herself. Therefore, she moved into another city with only the money she had saved up in order to attend this music school. “My parents saw how much I loved music and how happy it made me. So they let me follow my passion and build a career for myself with it. ”

Why do they want me to have this job anyway?

From the words of Ms. Lagayava, “All that your parents want is for you to be happy.”That’s why they want you to have certain jobs. These careers made them happy. Or they feel that it will give you everything that they didn’t have, which will, as a result, make you happy. After all, you get a larger education than most people. Also, lots of respect, and a larger salary. But, if you have a strong love or passion for something else and if it makes you happy, then follow it. Make a living for yourself with it. “When my family and I moved to America, my mom finally understood why I wanted to become a music teacher. Not only was there a huge demand for music teachers here, but I was so happy. I love music!”

Get closer to living the dream

Life has thrown many challenges in Ms. Lagayava’s way.  However, she never gave up or quit since she was so passionate about becoming a music teacher. I asked her if she ever doubted herself or worried she chose the wrong career. She claimed, “I never had any doubts, and the only time I worried was when I had to move to another city to attend music school. I had to live without my parents for the first time.”

Every day we are getting closer to our dreams without even realizing it. We keep on learning and exploring as we go through our daily experiences.

When we go to school and meet new people, this brings us closer and closer to achieving our dreams. We get an education while figuring out what we like and don’t like to do. It’s almost as if it’s our destiny to find a career that we love. Our fate is pulling us towards it every day. When others to tell us what to do with our lives or decide it based on how much money you can make, build a wall and block all this out. We were all put on this earth for a purpose. Although you probably haven’t figured out your purpose as soon as Ms. Lagayava did, I know that soon enough you will realize it.  You will have that dream life!