Someone once told me to follow my childhood dream -- and it was terrible career advice

GraduationJacquelyn Smith/Business InsiderHere I am with my boyfriend (now husband) on the day of our college graduation, on my way to a job in journalism.

Dwelling on the past — especially decisions or actions that can’t be reversed — and being consumed by thoughts of “What if … ?” is no way to live. That’s why I try not to have regrets.

But, to be honest, there are a few things in life I’d probably do differently if I had the chance.

One would be not taking a piece of career advice a college advisor gave me in 2007.

It was the second semester of my freshman year. I was majoring in architecture — something I had been passionate about for as long as I could remember — when I suddenly had a change of heart.

I made an appointment with my advisor, explained what I was feeling, and told him that I was no longer certain I wanted to pursue a career in architecture.

“Don’t give up on your childhood dream!” he told me.

“He’s right,” I thought. “I’ve always wanted to be an architect. I should just stick it out.”

But he was wrong.

DreamsDitty_about_summer/shutterstockPeople grow up and their dreams change. And that’s ok.

I was miserable — holding on to a childhood dream that had long since faded … trying to convince myself it was what I still wanted.

It was a nightmare.

When I confided in a friend about a year later, he asked: “Right now, today, what do you want to do with your life?”

That’s when I came to the obvious realisation that dreams change over time and that you should give up a childhood dream if it’s not what you want as an adult.

Luckily, it wasn’t too late. After some serious contemplation, I marched into my advisor’s office and changed my major to journalism. It wasn’t something I had always imagined myself pursuing — but in that moment, it was what I wanted.

When we tell ourselves we want something for so many years, we’re in denial when we realise we no longer desire that thing. We feel like we’re failing our younger selves … we’re letting them down. But we grow up and sometimes our dreams change — and that’s perfectly ok. You just need to ask yourself every once in a while, “Is this still what I want? Is this still my dream?” If the answer is “no,” move on and start chasing a new one.

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