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Advice I Wish I Got as a Teen

I started thinking a lot about the past recently; what led to me being here, things that went right, things that didn't. All of this makes up your story and who you are.

I should tell you right off the bat, that I have a high need for security, especially financial security. We had a lot of financial insecurity growing up. That need for security led me away from the passion that has been a pivotal part of my life, art. Because I also grew up hearing about how artist 'don't make any money'.

In school they had us take an assessment test for what career we should have. I think the first time I took this ridiculous test was middle school. I don't remember what I was matched with I just have a core memory of hating the suggestions on the list and having the thought that those jobs/careers sounded stupid. I also grew up in the 80's / 90's where the glass ceiling for women was firmly in place with hard and fast gender biased career roles.

The first career I fell in love with was interior design and I seriously considered this until I realized I'd have to move away from home and go to school on the east coast. And again that need for security, and my fear of doing something no one in my family had ever done, smothered that dream. I regret that.

I also considered architecture, but a family member told me that was a stupid idea and I would hate it because there was a lot of math involved. I'm good at math, but when someone stomps on an idea, basically telling you they don't think you'll be successful in that role, it's erodes your confidence in yourself.

I settled on premed and started college for just that... which is not anywhere close to what I'm doing today. I wish someone would have given me the following advice:

1) You can change your career as many times as it takes to find something that makes your happy. Most people have, on average, at least 6 different careers in their lives.

2) You do not have to figure out what career you want, what college you want to go to, or how you want to live your life when you're in high school. And those asshole administrators should stop trying to force you into a box and to be an adult. Enjoy being a kid because adulting is not easy.

3) There NO rule that says you have to be just one thing. You can be multiple things at the same time if you want.

4) Develop a passion for learning and trying new things, that passion for discovery and exploration is the secret sauce that makes life interesting.

5) While time is not infinite most people have decades on this earth, do something you actually enjoy doing.

6) Your gender does NOT define what career you should have!! Be whatever you want. We can and will strike down hundreds of year of patriarchy that defines jobs as being better suited to one or another gender. There are amazing people of all genders thriving in every career!!

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