Growing Up and Freaking Out: On Being Asked “What Do You Want in Life?”

Growing Up and Freaking Out: On Being Asked “What Do You Want in Life?” | Positively Smitten

By Ellie Constantinou


“What do you want in life?”

At the age of 16, this is the only question anyone wants to ask me. Up until now, my answers have always gone along the lines of ‘to live in New York and have a lot of money’.

After hearing my answer, people often look at me like I’m joking, and when I explain that those two things are what I actually ultimately wanted in life, they inevitably move onto the next set of questions all 16-18 year olds expect to hear:

“Where are you going to school? What are you studying at university? What do you want to be?”

I know, I know, I should be thinking about these things – it’s only a year and a half until I’ll be packed up and off to university – but, to be honest, I had practically no clue as to what I wanted to study until last week when I went to a University Convention.

The convention was basically a place where universities tried to sell themselves to bright-eyed, hopeful 16-year-olds with the ambition of leaving home and attending what we believe to be a magical place with no parents and enough freedom to have the best years of our lives.

Fortunately for myself, I wasn’t completely clueless. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to do something ‘business-y’ in college and just assumed the right course would come along if ‘business-y’ was my preference. What, is ‘business-y’ not specific enough?

Well, it turns out people are slightly more expectant for details than I realized. After telling teachers, family, and friends that I wanted to do something business-related, they raised their eyebrows, waiting for me to elaborate. That’s where I became stuck. “Business what?” I thought to myself.

Thankfully, the University Convention I attended answered my question and helped me in making my decision as to what I ‘want to do in life’.

Throughout the day, I approached different universities and asked about the business courses they offered. Most universities gave me a prospectus and told me I’d need to decide what kind of course I’d want to do. This was the one thing I hadn’t wanted to hear – I hadn’t made that decision yet!

It had gotten to the point where I had all but given up, and opted instead to aimlessly follow my friends around, dragged down by the weight of the prospectuses I had collected from each university stand.

Getting bored, I picked up a prospectus and began to read. It seemed like every course was offered but nothing jumped out at me and begged me to study it, telling me I’d enjoy it and get a career out of it and fulfill my dream of moving to New York. That was when I saw ‘Business Studies’. Just those two words. They leapt out of the page and hugged me right there in the middle of the busy hall full of young people.

“Why specialize in something you’re not even sure about, when you can learn the basics of everything and specialize in the topic you actually enjoy?” – I began to convince myself I had made the biggest decision of my life and I was actually growing up!

With my decision made, I couldn’t wait to answer the what-was-once-dreadful “What do you want in life?” question. Then I got a bit over excited and started thinking about the smaller (but very important to me) things that I want in life. I luckily stumbled across Positively Smitten, confirmed my jealousy of people who are able to write an article effortlessly and decided I would take one more step into my new ‘Growing Up’ adventure.

So, if you’re reading this, I succeeded, and the email I submitted has landed me a feature on Positively Smitten. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be reading back on this from New York!

About Ellie Constantinou:

I’m just a 16 year old girl trying to figure out what I want and where I’m going in life, trying to keep up with school work and still make time to write, read and talk!


3 responses to “Growing Up and Freaking Out: On Being Asked “What Do You Want in Life?”

  1. Ellie, what a beautiful article! I’m so happy you stumbled upon our site and decided to share a piece of yourself with us. You have such a great message to offer and we’re lucky to be able to share it with our readers.


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