A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the University Career Services Strong Interest Inventory, a friend of mine discovered that her true calling lies in floristry. After an hour devoted to the online survey, her career path was laid out before her.

When I first heard about the survey, I too was intrigued. Who wouldn’t want some insight into what to do with the rest of their lives? I lost faith, though, when my roommate, interested in PR, also found ‘florist’ near the top of her career list. An hour with a palm reader could have yielded similar results for a girl who would go stir crazy working among carnations day after day. Maybe the consumer demand for flower arrangements is growing or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I decided to take my career choices into my own hands.

Which leads me to the inspiration for this post. It’s almost time to register for classes again. While on campus showers and warm wind barely hint of coming spring, we must dust off the faithful undergraduate bulletin and think about our futures. Registering for classes leads us to consider the “foundations” and “approaches” to a solid undergraduate education, to reflect on possible majors, and to imagine our futures beyond college. What major would lead to an occupation, a paycheck and preferably something we would enjoy? It’s enough to make any undergraduate shudder and yearn for the days when the day’s biggest dilemma was what to pack in a brown lunch sack.

Facing reality, and the fact that our working age lives are on the near horizon, we try to narrow down our interests by tossing ideas around in our heads and with family members, professors, and friends. We test drive our options in psychology classes or internships at the UNC hospitals. We daydream in class as Professor Byrns warns weekly that failing to pass Econ will leave us asking for spare change on Franklin Street. We deliberate on whether nine to five in a cubicle would really be so bad, and we dream about the ideal job where we would be paid to do exactly what we love.

But maybe I’m on the right track and maybe we all are. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way when I’m filling out every academic worksheet that catches my fancy and I meet someone who has known since grade school what they want to do with their lives. It makes me want to escape formalized education that forces me to chart every step of my life, when I hesitate on the choice of what to eat for lunch. It’s enough to make me want to quit school and embark into the wild, or jump on Ken Kesey’s hippie bus and ride across the universe.

Unfortunately we can’t run away in the movies. Fortunately, it’s comforting to know that thousands of other UNC-CH students are drifting in the same boat without a compass. We’ve all made it to UNC and, undecided or not, that’s the first huge step.

On April 5th when registration opens, take the advice that I am trying to accept myself: fret less over how each class will directly inform your concrete goals for the future and allow some space for spontaneity to seep in. Who knows? Floristry may be the forte you never expected. Run with it.

By Hannah Taylor