I'll never forget the first time I visited the career development office in college.
I walked in my counselor's office to be greeted by a "so, what do you want to do?"
As a senior in college, months away from graduation, I was no stranger to this familiar question. It was one I had been asking myself years.
So, what did I want to do?
I chuckled to myself and flashed a toothy grin in attempts to keep the floodgates containing all my hopes and dreams from crashing down upon this friendly stranger. I began by listing the things I liked.
"Well, I really like fashion and anything within the beauty industry. I'm interested in entertainment and pop culture though too, so maybe something in PR? Health and fitness is a huge part of my life and something I really enjoy, so that would work too..."
I could see the smile growing on his face as my list of "likes" continued to grow with each passing moment. Then he said something I hadn't heard before, but in that moment made complete sense.
The career counselor said, "In other words, you're like a lot of people your age. A lot of Millennials have tons of aspirations and things they want to do, careers they want to pursue."
I had no idea this was such a phenomenon among my fellow 20-somethings, but suddenly it made so much sense.
My flitting desires and ideal careers had everything to do with the generation I grew up in and am proud to be a part of. As a Millennial, the world truly is our oyster.
From a young age we've had exposure to celebrities, family members, distant relatives, friends, influential people, etc., who have had an idea and utilized their wit and power of influence to make it happen.
Who knew there would be an avenue to watch our favorite movies and TV shows online? (Shoutout to Netflix.) Or who could have imagined that the notion of taking a picture of oneself could become an art form and propel one celebrities social status to unheard of, while narcissistic levels? #selfie.
Finally, who could have guessed that there would be an app for documenting our every move, whether welcome or otherwise? (Greatly appreciate it, Snapchat.) There is no idea too great nor any imagination too wild.
Social media is the newspaper of our generation, and it only increases Millennials' desire to achieve noteworthy and more importantly, enviable lives.
If you're anything like me, you can get lost in that question the career counselor asked me two years ago.
There are numerous things I want to do, but few that I feel I can realistically do. Yes I would love to quit my job and be a travel blogger, capturing my adventures through the lens of my canon camera and the words splashed across the page.
But at 23, still paying off college loans and managing to make ends meet living in Los Angeles, that's not a realistic goal right now.
However, don't let that deter you from making your wildest dreams a reality. The world truly is your oyster; it's merely up to you to decide just how you want to crack it and obtain that coveted pearl.
Each day is an opportunity to grow and take a step toward making your career dreams your reality. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding your career path:
1. What ignites my soul?
It's important to pursue something that brings light to your spirit -- something that ignites the fire in the pit of your belly and motivates you to be your best self in the workplace and out.
This is what we call passion. What's yours? (It's OK if there's more than one that comes to mind.)
2. What are my natural strengths?
What are the things you do that are effortless? Remember, while it seems like no big deal, not everyone is as good at public speaking (or whatever it may be) as you are.
Look for a job that allows these strengths to be celebrated and to flourish.
3. What's my ideal work environment?
Even if you feel like you're an easygoing, adaptable person, really give this question some thought. If you're a creative, free-spirit, the world of business suits and ties may not be suitable to your happiness.
4. Will this job or career choice benefit my growth?
It might seem silly to be thinking about your next move before you're in your present one but for me, that's inevitable. Does this job or career choice help you achieve your future goals?
5. What are my deal breakers?
Imagine you're working for the best company, surrounded by the most incredible people in the most awe-inspiring work environment. What does that look like? What are the traits that are definitely NOT included in that?
These are your "deal-breakers."
6. Is this job or career choice beneficial toward my legacy?
When we're all dead and gone, our legacies are going to be what friends and family remember us by.
Do you know what you want yours to be? (That's step one.) Once you have that decided, does this job you're pursuing contribute to your legacy?
7. What does your heart say? (Excuse the cliche.)
As you become an independent adult, it's easy to get caught up in the minutia of "adulting." There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, clothes to buy, makeup to try, places to see, etc.
This can create blinders to any low-paying job that may not afford you the opportunity to live that enviable life you've always dreamed of portraying on Instagram.
However, now's the time to take those low-paying but enriching jobs. Your bills are at a minimum, the only mouth you're feeding is most likely your own, and you can brown bag it for lunch every day.
Take advantage of this time in your life and take a chance on that intriguing but potentially mediocre paying job.
Being a Millennial is no joke. We're inundated by ideas, images and aspirations every minute of our day. Opportunities are endless and therefore, so are career paths.
It's difficult not to think you have to have it all figured out right this second (I know I do). I pressure myself every single day to figure out what I want in life and the necessary steps to achieving it. While this is a critical time to do just that, it's also a critical time to get to truly know yourself. Be selfish in these years where you can and are expected to be.
Take time to get to know the person you're becoming and you'll learn how to become the person you want to be.