Not knowing what you want to do in life can be a pretty stressful weight on your shoulders, especially if you have a tendency to get anxious or feel pressured to succeed and live up to expectations. Luckily for me, that’s not my issue. But up until now, I’ve literally had no idea about what I want to do when I’m older… Which I guess is now. We say ‘when we’re older’, but when is that? When do we have to decide? The answer is: never. It’s become a bit of a reassuring cliche for adults to tell you ‘Don’t worry, I don’t even know what I want to do yet!’ But it’s true.
I’ve always thought it’s ridiculous that from the age of about 15, people (mainly teachers and, for some people, family) start to put a lot of pressure on us to figure life out. The problem with school is they don’t actually teach you about life. The real stuff. School is an important 7 years of your life and should help you to grow and find yourself, yet it’s fast becoming a machine that just churns out exam-ready students rather than life-ready people. With such little experience, it’s daunting when we suddenly have to become adults. From what I can remember, I’ve never had a real idea of what I want my life to turn out like. When we’re little kids we think we know, but as we get older it just gets more and more unclear. I truly envy people who have their lives mapped out by the age we’re supposedly expected to by; imagine that! Knowing what you want to do and what you need to do to achieve that. Complete organisation – something I’d love to have.
But I also pity them. I can’t help feeling like some people rush into making huge life decisions that they’re not ready to make. It’s no wonder people end up in jobs that make them unhappy. The thought of living a life I’m not 100% happy with has always terrified me, which is why I’ve put off making any big decisions yet. There are so many different industries I’d love to work in and I actually really like the idea of moving out ASAP and starting to work. But then again, I’d also love to travel. But where to? For how long? There are almost too many options to choose from, which is why so many people end up doing the wrong one for them.
The only thing I’ve ever been sure of is that university is not for me. I’d like to think I’m an intelligent and mature person, but that doesn’t mean I need a degree to succeed. These days, with the cost and long-term investment of uni, I’d say you should only go if you know for sure it’s going to benefit you in some way. Going to uni is fab and if you have, kudos to you! But in the world we live in, employers are increasingly interested in people who have experienced the world and been their own boss for a while rather than conforming to the system like the majority of the population. So, if anyone’s pressuring you to go to uni and you don’t want to, do what’s best for you. Don’t let other people choose for you. Equally, if you want to go to uni but you’re expected to carry on the family business or something like that, ignore what others say. Do what’s right by you.
My main message here is to not let yourself feel pressured into making decisions before you’re ready. Once you leave school, the doors are open for you to go down absolutely any path you choose and while that’s a scary thought, it’s also an amazing one. While it might take you longer than you want it to, if you take your time to make these life-changing decisions you’ll ultimately end up making the right one.