To the young adult (yes, adult, as stressful as that may sound) who may be in their 3rd or 4th year of university, soon to cross the finish line, who has no clue what they are doing afterwards. This is to let you know a couple of things: you are definitely not the only one and that it is totally okay.
You may see others getting work experience in your field, applying to graduate programs or jobs right out of graduation. Seeing this and not knowing what to do is probably stressful and terrifying. It seems like everyone else has it figured out except you, doesn’t it?
Here’s one truth you need to realize: no one is more certain of their future than you are. No one knows what life will throw at them. Maybe they won’t get into the program of their dreams, or they will and realize they hate it? Maybe not, and they’ll have the time of their life doing what they love? None of those fates are certain. Everyone is present at the same moment of every day and no one is granted more certainty about the future than you are.
Another truth you need to realize: you have to stop watching what everyone else is doing, it will eat you alive.
Focus on yourself and yourself only. Do what you need to get done every day and don’t have a single concern for anyone else. When you come across an opportunity that is of interest to YOU, go for it. Unless you see it and think “everyone else is going to apply for this, I better too”. Now, if you get the thought “everyone else is going to apply for this, I shouldn’t even bother”, GO FOR IT. What do you really have to lose? If you don’t get it, nothing in your life changes. If you do get it, that’s awesome! Don’t count yourself out so soon.
You have to make the conscious decision to live your life for you and not let it pass you by waiting for something magical to happen.
If there are things you want to do in your life, don’t postpone them. You may think, “I need to get a job and a house, and have complete financial security, then I can travel the world”. That time may come and you’ll realize you have too many responsibilities to leave behind to do what you’ve been hoping for since your late teens.
If you get the chance to travel, please please please, take it. When you do, live in every single moment. Leave the stress of your home responsibilities at home, take this time off and see what this world has to offer.
I highly recommend logging out of social media during this time; uninstall the apps if you’ll really be tempted to log in (and that’ll free up some space for photos… although, I also highly recommend a real camera).
You’ll realize how much time you may be wasting on it. Go out there, learn about other people’s cultures and experience everything you can. Who knows when you’ll get to do that again.
Travelling may be the thing that makes you realize what you want to do, or at least make you realize that you are going to be okay.
While in Thailand I was assured by a monk about one of the truths in this world, everything is impermanent, including suffering.
This stress and uncertainty you feel now, will one day seem like wasted effort when you look back at it. This life is also impermanent, you never know how much time you’ll have, so why waste it stressed over things out of your control?
The reason I say that not knowing what you want to do is totally okay is because things will work out some way some how. The best way to realize this is to not have expectations. If you don’t expect your life to follow a certain path, you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.
Be confident that you are doing what is best for you in every moment of your life. You need money? Working as often as you are may be necessary for you right now, and that’s okay. Just focus on what you’re doing without worrying about what everyone else is up to.
Don’t stroll through life blindly letting time pass. Be present in each moment, do the things that make you happy (and I mean, genuinely happy, not just fun to numb the stress), and take opportunities as they come, you’ll never know what may come out of it until you give it a shot.
Go into every situation with the best attitude you can. Things will be fine.