Ok, so I'm a person that's worked their way through the education system, without any breaks, with no solid plans in place, and now that I've found myself approaching the end of my degree - all I keep getting asked is:
Are you opting for an internship?
What career path are you planning?
Are you taking a masters?
and I know. It's SO easy to just think ahhhhh omgmouhoguihwleWIHGIHW8EGU but - it's ok.
I have never been someone who knows what I'm doing tomorrow, let alone what I want to do for the rest of my future. I know that nowadays people are more inclined to switch up their career paths at least a couple of times during their life time, but for some reason, academics haven't seemed to get the memo. Apparently I'm only allowed to have one interest, and I must invest all my time, money and energy into that interest otherwise I'm going to end up a penniless nobody for the rest of my life.
But here's how I look at things:
I think it's best to think of life as something that can't be planned. So what if I don't know what I'm doing the day, week or month after I graduate yet? I'm not even aware of half the jobs out there are, let alone what I want to do! I've never taken a gap year, and I've always been in full time education, so I don't really feel as though I've had the chance to explore what it is that I want to do, or indeed, what I'm good at yet.
There's a difference between liking and being interested in something, and actually wanting to dedicate your time and life (to a certain extent) to it. Yes, I absolutely love cultural geography, marketing and acting - but am I ready to jump head over heels into one of those career paths? Absolutely not! I'm 20. & I'll still be 20 once I graduate. If I start planning my life out now; then surely that'll either work out 100% if I'm somehow psychic and can predict everything that'll come my way, or it'll just restrict me from all the possibilities of what could be if I just live my life as it comes, and accept it for what it is.
It's OK to not know what you want to do. Hell, at the age of 16 I was constantly hounded by my teachers that it was irresponsible to not be totally set on becoming a dentist or doctor. If you know? Then that's amazing, and good for you. I really hope you reach your dreams and that you're successful. But if you don't? Please don't feel afraid and feel that you're going to be left behind, or jump into something for the sake of it. Other people's opinions on your life and what you should be doing with it do not matter. It's your life - and whilst that may seem obvious, I think it's easy to forget that a lot of the time.
Don't let the education system rule your decisions, and don't let the processes of capitalism manipulate you into a world of work that you aren't totally happy with, or indeed, aren't ready for (something which a LOT of my friends are feeling right now). I'm a strong believer that, whatever age you are, you still have time to change things, and that there's always potential to live a happier life. Maybe that's a little naive? I really don't know.
My current life plans?
Study at a London drama school.
Move to New York.
Study for a masters and eventually, a PhD.
Start up my own business.
Join a marketing company.
Train to become a professional photographer.
Invest in property.
Get a dog.
Get more cats.
Get a chinchilla.
Start up a Youtube channel.
Write the screenplay for this great idea that I've had for so long now I could just oiwhghwEXPLODE.
Write a novel.
Positively influence somebody, anybody, everybody.
& somehow, amongst all of that, manage to fit in visiting these places before I'm 25.
1) I'm pretty sure even if I lived another 100 years, to actually live all that fully would be practically impossible.
2) I'm not made of money. Fact is, if I want to travel and explore the world, I won't have the money to buy a piece of paper with my name on it next to the big MA. or 'Doctor'.
3) If I join a marketing company, like I really want to, would I have the time to focus on building my own business, learn tap, write novels and become a professional photographer? No. I can't do all of them, maybe some, but not all. If I pick one NOW though, wouldn't that just restrict me from the opportunities the other paths have to offer?
Even though I know all this - you want to know why I don't care about that right now? I'm allowed to dream - that's why. I'm allowed to dream that I'll one day live in New York and be happy there. I'm allowed to dream that I could be an actress, a photographer, an investor and marketing manager all at the same time. I'm allowed to because those thoughts make me happy, and motivate me to strive to be better and to want to work harder. Those dreams? They help make who I am now me. Whether they make who I am in the future? Well I suppose that's up to me, opportunities and life to decide.
We can't plan our life, nor can anyone else, because we just don't know what's coming around the corner. It is what it is, and it will be what it will be. If you have strive and determination, I see no reason as to why you shouldn't at least try to achieve your dreams. There's nothing stopping you no matter how prominent that thought may seem at times.
Remember - It IS ok to get a part time job once you graduate so that you have the time and resources to really figure out what you want to do. It IS ok for you to take that time to explore different paths; and
It IS ok to be you, and to want to be the you you dream of.
I hope this post is taken positively, as I've seen a looooot of people approaching the end of the academic year feeling very uncomfortable, stressed and scared about not knowing what it is they want to do in the future. I just wanted to remind you that that is ok, and don't feel pressured or upset - just take your time, and I'm sure you'll figure it out.
If you're feeling a little confused with regards to my photo choices for this one - I just wanted to symbolise that, whilst your feet are on the ground, the towering buildings, the busy business people rushing around you with their briefcase, iPhone, and sense of direction, alongside the constant pressures of society can so easily weigh you down. But when you start to look at things from a different perspective, and recognise that your health and happiness and so much more is more important than how much ££ you could be earning and where it'll be coming from in a years time - all of those pressures suddenly seem a whole lot less intimidating.
I really hope you're all well and having a great, productive, smile-filled week. & if you have been feeling stressed about the future and don't quite know yet what it is that you want to do, I hope this post has made you feel at least a little better about things! Just please know, you're not alone, and there are SO many people who feel the same way as you do right now. Life is just too short to live it constantly worried and stressed. Trust me.