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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?When we’re young, we may have certain visions of what our future looks like — we contemplate what we want to do, career-wise, in the years to come. Yet even if those desires change, perhaps you can retain your childhood dreams in other ways.

Home video footage depicts me as a young girl, running around our Brooklyn apartment, singing and dancing (apparently, Paul McCartney’s “This One” did wonders for that dancing urge).

The performing arts scene was number one on my list, and when the sixth grade yearbook asked all the 11/12 year-old graduates the classic question (“what do you want to be when you grow up?”), I had my answer.

I yearned to be a singer/dancer; I was interested in acting too. Role models consisted of the Spice Girls, along with Miss Britney Spears, circa 1999. I enjoyed giving people some formulation of a boost, of lifting their spirits via performance.

It wasn’t until middle school and early high school when I began to shy away from being on stage. While I liked performing, I also found it to be stressful and nerve-racking in front of a large audience (alone) and maybe a bit uncomfortable, depending on the particular scene. As time went on, I started to question if it took a certain kind of individual to dive into that business; the development of a thick skin isn’t so easy for everyone to cultivate.

However, paralleling my love for music and theatre was my passion for writing. I’d go through journals like they were candy, devouring the pages with my pen almost daily. The written word became my outlet, my home for sorting through my thoughts, feelings and life’s happenings. I loved telling stories. I pored over copies of Seventeen Magazine and read detailed features with a sense of delight, and a feeling that I’d want to write like this myself one day.

After experimenting with journalism classes and the literary magazine in high school, I gravitated toward that field and ultimately majored in print journalism in college and studied psychology. These days, I blend the two interests together, while also trying out other writing styles as well (I’ve been attempting fiction).

Looking back, I recall moments of wistfulness during my freshman year of college, situated in an intimate theatre and watching beautiful performances conducted by the school’s drama department. I can still perform, though, on a smaller scale, where family and friends could serve as a substitute for a filled auditorium. And writing can still ‘entertain’ and leave an impact: that purpose just manifested into written form.

Though I’m only speaking from my personal experiences, I hope this post can paint a bigger picture; one which speaks to those who had a zest for a calling in their early years. Sometimes what you want to be when you grow up transforms into something else (which is pretty understandable), but even so, I’d imagine those childhood passions can be kept close to you one way or another. Cheers!

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Lauren Suval

Lauren Suval studied print journalism and psychology at Hofstra University, and she is a writer based in New York. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Catapult Community, and other online publications. Lauren's e-book “Coping With Life’s Clutter” and her collection of personal essays, “The Art Of Nostalgia,” can both be found on Amazon. Lauren's latest E-Book, "Never Far Behind," a collection of poetry, is available on Smashwords, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. She loves to be followed on social media, including her Facebook Writing Page,

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APA Reference
Suval, L. (2018). What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 6 Nov 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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