I went to graduate school with the opposite intention of most people. I did not want to refine my expertise about one thing – I wanted to keep learning about a lot of new things.
I was starting to realize that that whole concept of a “career” did not quite fit my style, and more importantly that this was OK. No, that this was great. There are plenty of people trying to be civil engineers. There are very few people trying to blend environmental engineering with creativity, global development, experiential learning, and information science. I couldn’t have told you at the time but it was one of the biggest decisions I made, letting my inner nonconformist and creative speak up and start making “disjointed” decisions.
I gave myself permission to pursue the opportunities that appealed to me most, rather than the ones that made the most sense. I discovered how to channel my creativity to all areas of my life, not just the occasional craft project. I unearthed skills I had long forgotten I had. I took a videography class. I found passion for things I had written off on account of being too far outside my field. I took a class on Japanese tea culture. I realized all my BIG ideas and idealistic dreams were asking me to take action, and then started noticing how opportunities to do so kept popping up.
Since then, I have told as many people as possible that the most valuable, accessible, and interesting opportunities out there today exist in the unexpected intersects and overlaps of fields. You do not need to pick one thing. You should not only pick one thing. We need people who can blend expertise from many fields, who can see from many perspectives, and who can approach the world as the complex, interconnected unified system that it is.
Turns out there’s a lot of others out there who went through a similar transformation, and my guess is there are even more waiting for that to happen. There’s a great book out there called The Renaissance Soul I’d suggest to anyone with an inkling this is them, and even a multipotentialite tribe congregating on the internet.
My parting advice: TRY DOING EVERYTHING – and don’t feel bad about it. Make yourself uniquely qualified to do something uniquely you.