We’re all familiar with the typical teenage existential crisis of “Who am I?” and “What do I want to do with my life?” Sure, it may seem a little cliché or melodramatic, but for high schoolers looking at the next phase of their life, the ever-growing lists of majors at each college sends many heads spinning, causing the search for identity and one’s interests to become even more overwhelming.

As an incoming senior in high school, deciding on a major or career path for my life right now seems impossible and almost silly, especially when colleges have so many majors and programs to offer. I know I’m interested in the humanities – English and history are my favorite subjects in school – but I don’t have a clear idea of what exactly I want to major in. I feel that starting my college career as “undecided” would be the most beneficial option in my situation so that I can sample more of the classes/subjects that interest me during my first year in college and make a decision when I feel comfortable and informed.

Still, waiting until college to start the journey of discovering your career path is not appealing to an obsessive planner like myself. Some of my classmates have been attending workshops, getting internships, or finding jobs in fields that interest them. I too wanted to use the summer to further my career exploration, but all the opportunities I heard about were in STEM fields, and what I really wanted was something that was attuned to my interests.

That’s why, this summer, I decided to email the Geauga County Public Library to see if they would be willing to let me be a writing volunteer. Since this position didn’t exist when I first approached the library, I was just hoping that they would let me be a part of their team in whatever capacity needed. I’ve worked on my school’s news magazine as a reporter and editor, and writing has always been a passion of mine, but what I really wanted was “real-world” experience, and I knew the library would have plenty of writing opportunities.

The experience I’ve had is so much better than I could have imagined – I mean, where else will you get a smiley face made out of jolly ranchers on your desk for your first day of work? So far, I’ve written multiple press releases, worked on publications, crafted blogs like this one, and loved every minute of it. The classroom has been a great environment for learning, but now I’ve gotten to implement what I’ve learned in my classes and see what it’s like to use these skills for a job rather than for an assignment in school.

Hailey Oppenlander is a volunteer in the Marketing Department at the GCPL Administration Center. She is currently reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (rest assured, it is NOT the same thing as Fifty Shades of Grey – she felt you judging her behind those screens).
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