My whole life I’ve known what I wanted to be when I grow up—a chef owner of a casual dining restaurant located in Western Morocco. Everything that I have done in my life has been to get me to a point where opening this restaurant would be possible. I stuck through a horrible job as a hostess to get the restaurant experience. I spent every waking moment during my gap year either looking up recipes or experimenting in the kitchen. I decided to major in business leadership with a minor in food science here at Concordia. I spent my summer developing a business plan, menu, and operational guide for a pilot project café that I opened in Tunisia for just a week.
My plans for the future reflect this goal as well. I have always planned to go straight from Concordia to culinary school, after which I would work my way all the way up from line cook to executive chef of a few important restaurants. Following my success in other people’s restaurants, I would use my savings and my knowledge of the business world to raise enough capital to start my own restaurant which I would run until I can’t any more, at which point I would pass it on to one of my children.
I have it all planned out, see?
Except I don’t. My first fall at Concordia the symposium was on sustainability, and I fell in love with the idea of preserving our earth for as many generations after us as possible. In the spring I went on a school sponsored, sustainability centered trip to Northern California, where I fell in love with the small, local farms and large, open-aired farmers market right along the coast. What a curve ball. For the first time in my life I wondered if I had made a mistake. I went back and forth on switching my major to environmental studies, or at least adding it as a minor. Even after spending my summer teaching swimming lessons and running a café in Tunisia, I came back to Concordia wondering if I was walking into the wrong industry. In the end I decided to keep my major and minor as they were.
Well, that brings us up to date I think. I’m totally torn between multiple different passions and multiple different ways to pursue these passions. When I’m torn, I tend to freeze up and stop working, but I only have one year left in school, so that’s not really an option for me. What have I been doing these past few weeks? Pushing through. Instead of not pursuing anything, I’ve pursued all of my options. I’ve set up meetings with chef-owners of a few restaurants, I’ve talked with people involved in policy, and I’ve connected with farmers across the U.S. I guess what I’ve learned from these past few roller coaster years is that even those who have had their whole life planned out are going to lose sight of what they actually want for the future, and when that happens, you need to hold onto your perseverance and dedication and keep pushing, exploring all of your options and slowly eliminating what doesn’t interest you anymore, because while curling up into a ball and netflixing for hours on end might distract you from your future, it won’t help you find your calling.
Remember, no matter where you end up, you’ll have learned valuable lessons from all of your experience leading up to that moment, whether you took the conventional route or managed to switch directions an infinite amount of times.
Tell us what you think: Have you ever doubted the path that you’re on? What have you done to keep moving in that situation?
Written by Career Peer Nicky