Figuring out what to do with your life? 11/09/2015
For many young people, this question can become a huge conundrum as it seems such a life changing decision that so much depends on. In reality, it's all about perception. A young student could perceive all the different possibilities as opportunities or as a real weight on their shoulders that is just too stressful to sort out. But, in these days of multiple careers during a lifetime, why is it necessary for a young person who has just finished High School to choose, at this time in his/her life, the one career that he/she will undertake for the rest of his/her life? It's really not practical. So, what does he/she do? No-one can decide for you what you really want to do for the rest of your life but one thing is for certain - you should do something as no-one gets anywhere standing still. So, rather than letting yourself become paralyzed by the vastness of all the possibilities, why not just look at what you've done well in so far, the subjects you were good at and what you enjoyed. Also, it may sound daft but you could ask any role model you trust/respect who knows you well -- maybe your parents, teachers, friends, whoever what they think you would be good at. If they really are close to you they should know you well enough and they can be a valuable resource, even if you don't know it yet!
Instead of feeling frozen to the spot, accept that you will make mistakes in life, everyone does, but it's how you deal with it that matters. Talk to people. Make a decision. If you're wrong, you're wrong, and you may be able to change your course or career plans or use the qualification as a stepping stone to reach another level. Don't think every day will be perfect simply because you "chose the right path". Even people who love their careers have stressful and demanding times. Be ready to work hard and keep moving forward and everything will come together.
Most people experience your situation many times in life. With experience, they begin to realize that life tends to get you to where you want to be in the end if you do your best in the present. If you really want to go to university, then aim for it, and make it work; do your research and choose a degree that you will enjoy, be able for, and that will lead to a job! If you're the type of person who worries about financial pitfalls, it makes sense to avoid graduate degrees that have no obvious job payoff so you will feel confident that you will be able to pay your bills. University is great but it may be best to avoid going to just because you don't know what else to do and there are other options so, if you are going to uni, check out the degrees that will give you the best chance of landing a job at the end of them and do your best while you're there. The worst thing you can do is nothing at all.
If you work hard good things really do happen. You do get noticed and eventually it will reward you. You'd be surprised how many people end up getting degrees after which they get good jobs that are hardly related to the degree they did!
Volunteer work is a great way to explore different interests and careers, meet new people and it provides people with great work and life experiences. It also shows potential employers that you are willing to spend the time and effort. Contacts and work experience are important as people feel comfortable working with someone they know will work hard and can deal with situations they may come across; it builds trust and increases your likelihood of getting a job/reference.
Finally, have faith in yourself, whatever educational route you choose, do your very best and everything will work out.