I’m a first-year student at a small French political science school. What’s nice about this is that I have three years (well, only 2 left now) of exploring before I have to make up my mind with what I want to do with my life and choose a Master’s degree – which I have absolutely no idea of. I know I want to get married and have a “normal” life. I know I want to live in New York City for a few years after I graduate, but not forever. I know I might want to live in the US but that France is home and therefore I’ve just hit my first uncertainty. In recent years I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to be an actress. Then, upon the realization that a) I’m not a great actress, b) it’s impossible to succeed and c) I want to use my brains, I decided I might want to become a film director or producer. I was, and still am, fascinated by the world of film. Only that’s not where my skills are, and I don’t have any connexions to it. So then, last year, I thought maybe I’d like to work for the World Bank or something. But now that I’m actually a student, I’m starting to realize that I can’t stand people who take themselves too seriously, as my school is full of them, and major international organizations are too. Besides, I don’t have the courage to do a PhD right away, which would be a requirement. So here I am, back at stage zero. Everyone is starting to figure out what they want out of life and I have no idea when it comes to my career, which is a huge part of life. But I do know this: I want to be happy with what I do. I want to have a family. I want to leave my mark in the world. I want to make a difference and change someone’s life for the better. I may not know what job I want, but at least that’s a start.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.”