We are at a time in our lives where we have to make big decisions about our future. You may have spent three or so years at university and now it’s come to an end and you’re about to be thrust into the world of adulthood.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out even though we’ve been in a bubble for the past few years where our biggest responsibility was getting good grades on assignments and showing up to lectures and exams.
It can feel like you’ve been thrown into the wild with no survival training. And that might actually be the case since university doesn’t have a ‘how to do life’ class.
My final year at university taught me the most important lesson: it’s okay to not have everything figured out.
I went through post-graduation plans like it was an all you can eat buffet. I thought I wanted to go into sales, then it was recruitment, then a gap year, then a masters… you get the idea.
I was so desperate to have some kind of plan in place. Mostly for a sense of a security, but also because everyone else around me seemed to have everything together, all whilst doing their dissertation and revising for exams!
I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I had a light bulb moment somewhere in between the first and second semester. A revelation if you will. I sat down and really thought about what I wanted to happen in the next year.
I specifically chose a year because it was a small and realistic goal to work on, rather than trying to figure out the next five years. And I think that is so important to do when you are overwhelmed by big decisions or life milestones.. take it step by step.
After identifying my main goal for the year (taking a year out to improve my Spanish), I began to think about the smaller goals I could achieve to help me reach my big goal. Setting yourself smaller and more achievable goals helps to keep you on track and prevent burnout.
Slowly but surely a vague plan began to form and I started to verbalise my ideas with my friends and family. By doing this I was able to get some feedback on my ideas; see what was actually viable and ways to improve them. And explore things that I wouldn’t have thought about on my own. Which is why it is definitely worthwhile to seek out people within your network, they could inspire you into new and exciting directions.
Before I knew it, a vague plan turned into an exciting year full of opportunities and adventure.
I still don’t have every single thing figured out, I don’t think anyone does. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a breath, focus on the journey that you want to take and start from there.
Remember: it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to not have a plan and it’s okay to change your mind
Article photo by Adi Goldstein