“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Though that question daunts me now that I am in college, when I was five years old it was easy to answer. While most of my peers wanted to be astronauts or doctors, my dreams were far more ambitious: I wanted to be a Tyrannosaurus rex. I was too young to see Jurassic Park at the time, so my fantasies were limited to multiple viewings of the animated cartoon A Land Before Time. I was certain that my eventual transformation offered endless possibilities—I would have a brand-new appendage (a tail) and would no longer have to eat those darned vegetables (T-Rexes are carnivores after all).
Sadly, my mother broke the unfortunate news that for a host of reasons I could never become the ferocious predator. Yet I refused to let my aspirations be curtailed by this minor setback. Still an avid lover of animals, I decided to become a zookeeper and work in the reptile department. That way I could interact with the modern incarnations of my beloved prehistoric beasts.
Now as an English major and creative writing and Spanish minor at Cornell University, I analyze Shakespeare and write poetry and short stories instead of feeding boa constrictors and bearded dragons in Lincoln Park Zoo. While I love what I do, I am slightly envious of my younger self and the clarity and boldness with which he articulated his desires. Regardless of what I do after college, I hope to have the same imagination and confidence of my youth.
Is your job now everything you wanted since you were younger but more? Completely not what you expected? For our next Big Q, we want to hear about your past aspirations and current occupations. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.