I am nearing the end of University. After Easter there is just 4 days, 3 projects, 2 essays and 1 exam to go and so of course I am being asked the inevitable ‘what are your plans for after uni?’.
The truth is I have an idea of what I’d like to do, but I think a large majority of our generation feel as though they’re being pulled in different directions in an attempt to achieve success. There are job ‘opportunities’ flying at us, careers fairs, grad schemes, application deadlines. Equally there is the pull to take some time, to have a break and use the opportunity to actually enjoy unemployment. On the other hand, as much as I long for and love freedom, I also feel ready to settle somewhere, I want a flat to decorate and a local area and some kind of routine but obviously, in order to do that I need money, lots of it. So that brings us back to the job dilemma.
I’d like a job (obviously), but doing exactly what I don’t know. It would probably be something media related, but so far none of the work experience I’ve done has ignited a passion in me and made me want to do it for the rest of my life. The jobs I do want are ones that are incredibly competitive, and I don’t know if I’m confident enough in my ability to push for the presenter roles, the writing opportunities. I’m aware you usually need to work your way up, hence why I’m hesitant to start climbing the career ladder before I’m certain of what I want to be at the top, or whether I’m ready to start working towards it. That being said, you have to start somewhere, but I’m not sure I want to start digging my roots somewhere in case it suddenly becomes too hard to leave.
The desire to travel is one I know so many of us experience, we are aware of the unique opportunity we have; Time. As much as there is a pressure for us to get a job, there is perhaps an equal one for us to take advantage of our youth. The chance to take time for ourselves, to achieve things outside of a job and explore the world is one that we are unlikely to get again. There are plans I made when I was younger, places I’ve seen pictures of and stories I’ve heard so I almost feel like I owe it to myself to experience these things. The insight social media gives us into other peoples lives probably doesn’t help, we look at what our friends are spending their time doing and compare it to how we are spending ours. Even though we know it’s a specially curated highlight reel, sometimes other people’s highlights still look better than our own. It also expands our horizons, which isn’t a bad thing but can almost make us feel like we have more to do, more of life to be living. We can look at pictures of cities, beaches and cafes and instantly add them to our ever growing bucket lists.
So, with all that in mind, I am trying to remember to run my own race, to measure my success against myself. There is no point looking at the person in the next lane, how well they’re doing in their life makes no difference to how well I’m doing in mine. I want to see other people succeeding and use it as motivation to achieve my own goals, whatever they are. I’m trying to find the balance between working hard and doing what makes me happy because hopefully, eventually, the two will go together. In the mean time, you’ll find me doing my best and trying not to have a premature quarter life crisis. I’ll keep you posted.