As this year’s class starts looking towards graduation, I have seen a disturbing trend. There seems to be this idea that university students should focus on finding their passion in their first job.
Find their passion? Most teenagers cannot find their pants. How can we think that they will find their passion somewhere between the pub, the classroom and the dorm?
I think expecting to find your passion before you can legally drink is pretty unrealistic. As parents, we are setting up a pretty big failure platform if we set those expectations before they even leave high school.
There are exceptions: gifted athletes, artists and musicians have their talents identified early on so they are pretty advanced on the passion scale. People following in the family footsteps of law or accounting, have a prescribed path too. (Sometimes in spite of their passion)
University and first jobs are more about finding what you don’t like. Learning about the kind of professors/bosses that you don’t get along with. Working with group members who don’t pull their weight. Figuring how to identify the room mate who parties too much; that sort of thing.
The world is really, really big. You have to get out there and explore it beyond just university. Don’t be surprised if your passion does not start to reveal itself until you are well into your 30s or even later.
In the end, it’s not about when you find it, it’s about recognizing when you are in the right place at the right time and really enjoying yourself. That‘s what we are all shooting for.