I think that one of the most exciting things about becoming an adult and experiencing the world on your own is the ability to develop a platform for yourself–by that, I mean making decisions about what to believe, what to value, and how to act on those beliefs and values every day. In one of my classes, we recently completed an activity that assessed our strengths by answering a variety of questions. My top 5 strengths were perseverance, spirituality, gratitude, love and humor. I was surprised at how accurate this virtual strengths assessment was, and I think that these top 5 strengths are very attributable to who I am. After analyzing our strengths reports, we were handed a set of cards with different values on them. Examples include love, diversity, service, compassion, family, friendship, etc. We had to divide the cards into 2 piles: values we found to be important and values we found to be not important. We then divided our ‘important’ category into our top 10, top 5, and then we ranked our top 5. My values in order were spirituality, love, service, compassion, and family. I find all of these values to be extremely important, and I believe that they closely align with my career aspirations.
Something I recently discussed with other girls at a bible study was the concept of defining our purpose. On any given day, if someone asked me to define my purpose, I would probably answer that I believe my purpose is to serve others through medicine. At this bible study, I realized how flawed my answer is. It is so easy to miss out on the bigger picture as a college student. Our priorities surround maintaining a 4.0, nailing savvy internships, participating in a variety of extracurriculars, and we’re all supposed to maintain a heightened social life while trying to balance all of these things. I know that my viewpoint will contrast with many based on differing spiritual beliefs (that I wholeheartedly respect and accept), but I think our purpose is severely skewed by societal norms and expectations. Our purpose lies in something greater than us, and I believe we are meant to serve others not for our personal gain, but for a God who created us.
So I have had to spend some time reflecting and asking the question: is there a connection between my values and career aspiration? If not, how can I reassess my aspirations to fit values that serve a greater purpose? If I’m being honest with myself, when I was growing up, I think I wanted to be a doctor because in my younger mind, being a doctor meant financial security (aka large home and expensive vacations) and it was my idea of leadership and success. As I have matured and have been able to define my values and priorities, I see that my predisposition of being a doctor is secure in the values of love, compassion, and service. I am excited that my values and career aspirations align, and I believe that they will continue to align as long as I remind myself that my purpose is much Greater than it seems.