What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Easy. be rich. live in a united Ireland. be happy. Why is that not an acceptable answer?

I’m a final year student, so one thing I always get asked is, “so what are your plans for after uni?” Let me tell you now, I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight, let alone what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life.

There’s this expectation that people should know exactly what they want to do and where they want to work, but no one really knows, do they? Some people figure it out when they’re 10. Others figure it out when they’re 40. Some never do.
Not even the people who ask the question know what they want to do.

How can someone who has work experience in 4 different roles possibly know which one job out of a million out there, they want to do? Maybe I’ll get a job related to my degree, maybe I won’t. I don’t have a BALDY. And that’s okay.

Final years and graduates don’t HAVE to go straight into a job that they’ll be in for the next 30 years. We are under enough pressure without being made to feel that we have to have it out figured it out, as if trying to figure out how to Harvard reference isn’t hard enough.

We hear “What do you want to be when you grow up?” from primary school. Don’t you think it’s a bit weird that one of the first things you ask a 5 year old, is what their desired employment is? Like, of course they don’t know what they want to be besides a “princess”, “astronaut” or “Shakira”. I’ve wanted to be famous, an author (attempted to write MANY novels but could never make the plot last longer than 1 page), a musician (can’t sing), a model (HA imagine), a lawyer (realised it was gonna be a LOT of work) and here I am full circle back to Shakira. She has a lovely life, wouldn’t mind being her. Or J Lo. She’s the dream.

Anyway, if that’s all the phases and notions we go through when we’re growing up, why would that stop? I’m still getting older, still figuring out what I like and what I’m good at (I will find something yet, just you wait). And I don’t expect that to stop. What’s all the fuss about wanting to know what you want to do? Sure isn’t life more exciting when you haven’t a CLUE what you’re doing?

You might want to be an accountant (God knows why), but you might get a job as one and actually hate it. Maybe it’s the job, maybe it’s the city, maybe it’s your boss (probably the job though). The same job isn’t actually the same job. You don’t know anything til you’ve tried it, even when you have, come a different set of circumstances like a different company, you could be miserable. Back to the “I don’t know” stage. Welcome, have a seat x

I’m not doing a degree where there’s a clear-cut path at the end of it. IT, go into IT. Law, go into law. Medicine, be a doctor (after like 20 years of uni). I do communication, advertising and marketing. So I have a whole load of choice and variety, which seems like a good idea but I’m hella indecisive so it would’ve been nice to have a narrower idea. But the thing is, I didn’t choose this degree for a job. I chose it because it sounded interesting and I fancied actually ENJOYING the next 4 years. So, if I don’t get a job related to it but that I still love, that’s okay. I don’t care that I don’t know what I want to do, so why should anyone else?

“What do you want to be?” Happy is a valid answer. Healthy is a valid answer. “I don’t know” is a valid answer. And Shakira sure as hell is a valid answer.

The “F” Word

Bet that got your attention, eh?

Feminism.

What other word would I be talking about? Shame on you.

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Recently, I bought a book about feminism, and reading it made me realise how, for someone who considers themselves to be a ‘feminist’, there’s so much I actually don’t know about the history and topic itself. I then proceeded to buy 4 books on the subject because I wanted to learn a bit more (and I couldn’t choose between them). While reading it, I realised that there is no one type of ‘feminism’ – everyone has their own individual experience and views. It’s not “you’re either this type of feminist, or you’re not a feminist” – it’s the same way that no two people of the same religion have exactly the same religious views/opinions. It’s a very personal thing, and everyone has their own ways of being a feminist.

Yes, there’s the old “Oh so you’re a feminist but you want your dates to pay for your stuff? Doesn’t seem very equal to me.” Well, who doesn’t want free stuff? Pretty sure you’d rather not have to pay for your food either like.

And yes, I like having doors held open for me. I don’t care who holds the door, I just don’t want it hitting my face.

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But anyway, this is basically some of what feminism[s] mean to me.

It means not having to change my name when if I get married. Getting married (if anyone should be so lucky) doesn’t change me or who I am, it doesn’t make me any less “me” and any more my husband. To me, my name represents who I am and what me and my family have been through. If he doesn’t have to change his name, why should I? I’m still me, just with a ring on my finger. I know many people choose to take their partner’s names, and that’s perfectly fine, at the end of the day it’s a choice, and that’s enough for me.

It means identifying as ‘Ms’. On forms and accounts, I tick the ‘Ms’ box, because it’s nobody’s business whether I’m married or not – what difference does it make? What has my ~questionable~ relationship history or status got to do with anything? To me, if a man doesn’t have to state his marital status, then I sure as hell don’t.

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It means not having to choose between having a career or children. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. I don’t want to have to make a decision on which of the two is more important to me, I have a right to have both. Paternal leave to me means that both parents should have equal opportunities to be with their family, and be at work. I want my cake (preferably carrot), and I want to eat it to, please agus thank you.

It means being able to support myself and live independently, not needing a man to “look after me” *que Ne-Yo ‘Miss Independent’*. It means not having to rely on someone else to be able to apply for a mortgage or a bank loan, or have enough money to eat and live comfortably. I don’t want whether or not I live with someone, to decide whether or not I live.

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It means having an education and a career. I am so lucky to have grown up in a time and place where I had equal access to education as males. I know that so many others aren’t as lucky as I am, with millions of girls never setting foot in a school in their lives. I’m so lucky to have been presented with the opportunities I have been, which have enabled me to receive an education and go to university and work. I want the choice and option to choose my future.

It means having opinions and being able to express them. Whether or not views and opinions matter should be based on the merit of what is said, not who says it. Being listened to is a whole other story.

It means supporting other women. It means raising others up, even if it’s something as small as commenting ‘YASSSSS QUEEN’ on an Instagram photo, or telling that stranger in the nightclub toilets that her highlight is “poppin'”. It’s so important to support each other, instead of making everything a competition and tear each other down. Don’t insult your ex’s new girlfriend, feel sorry for the poor girl.

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It means believing in equal domestic responsibilities. Your gender shouldn’t define what you do around the house. All to often, females are subjected to the homemaker role- taking on the majority of cooking, cleaning and childcare responsibilities. I’m not saying that females shouldn’t do any of these, I’m saying that these roles should be shared. Take it in turns, do half each – I don’t think it should be ‘who does what’, but ‘who does what this time‘. Basically, make your own sandwich. And do the dishes after. Merci.

This is just a very brief summary of some of the views I have on the subject, and you may disagree with them, and that’s fine. These are MY opinions which I hold based off MY experiences. I’m not trying to make you share these views, just respect them and understand why I hold them.