So I’m grown up: ‘Now what?’

So I’m grown up: ‘Now what?’
February 8, 2016 Heather Penn

There are some who have always known they will be a doctor, lawyer or mad scientist and stayed the course to achieve that goal. For others it may be what looks cool at the time. From flying a jet fighter to being a professional skateboarder the possibilities are endless in youth.  But for some they have no idea what they want to be when they grow up.

“I’ve never been one of those kids who knew what they wanted to be.” said Thomas Murphy, an 18 year old looking for direction as he contemplates filling out a job application for Fred Meyers. “I am hoping to join the military but right now I’m too chubby. I need to drop 10 pounds first.”

Among the attractions of a lifestyle founded on taking orders, Murphy’s ready to concede he needs guidance. “It might give me a sense of direction.”

Some see college “just what you do,” said Jordan Turner, speaking at TEDxCHSNED, a self-organized ideas forum in keeping with non-profit TED organization’s global “ideas worth spreading” program.

College, like other life choices, is worth serious thought, said  Turner, in a 2013 talk available on YouTube.
“I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to college,” he said. “College is great. I’m just saying, ‘Why should everybody go to college– just because?”


Jacob McConnell, a dishwasher at a local restaurant, doesn’t question the goal, as much as the feasibility. “Right now I’m working and it sucks. I wanted to be a firefighter but the training costs money and my parents can’t help me with a loan because their credit sucks and I don’t have any credit,” he said.

“I work and try and save money for school but by the time I pay rent, car insurance and food there isn’t much left for savings.”

Thus for many enters the first adult choice they will have to make: To work, to learn or to sign over one’s life.

That IS the question.

Heather Penn
Heather Penn is a senior journalism student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has written for the Sunstar a student run paper, the local military paper and worked as an early morning correspondent for KUAC. Heather is an avid outdoors woman who seeks stories in everyday Alaskan living. She is a mother and wife who enjoys spending time with her family and writing.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *