If you’re anything like me, you’re the kind of gal that becomes stressed when people ask you “what’s next?” or “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I politely smile, laugh, say something along the lines of, “oh, I’m still figuring it out” or blatantly lie between my teeth and say something like “digital marketing really excites me” when in actual fact I’d rather be an accountant than work in digital marketing (jokes..?) Figuring out what to do with your life is hard – we get it.
So HELP. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. What course do I choose? Should I go to uni? Should I take a gap year? What do I do when I finish uni? Do I want to work in the corporate world? WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?!?!
The simple answer is – most people have no idea what they want to do with their life. They fall into a career, they just do something for the sake of it, they do something they are good at but don’t particularly love, they do something they like, or they do something because we all need to work to pay the bills (and sometimes I wish we didn’t – can’t we all just drink Pina Colada’s on a beach for the rest of eternity. Newsflash: no.)
I cant give you the answer of what you want to do with your life, but I can give you some of my advice to how I have figured it out.
Here’s my 3 sure fire ways to get a better idea of what’s next.
- What’s the one thing that is on your mind right now? Is it travel, study, work? Do you just want to pack up and backpack around South America for the next 6 months? If there is one thing just can’t escape your, like travel or starting your own business (that was mine, starting this little thing called ENID), then you should probably do it. Follow that thought, that hope, that can’t get you off my mind.
- Ok, but I don’t have that. So what do I do? This is where it gets a little bit trickier. Sometimes, we don’t all have that burning desire that we HAVE to do something. My best advice is to keep your options open and say yes to things: i.e. work hard at university so you have the best chance of securing, study a more general degree (like Arts), apply for a variety of internships or jobs, participate in different volunteer work or other activities. Basically – do a lot of different stuff. The more different things you do, the more things you can cross off your list of things you don’t like. I did this in my first year of uni, when I completed an internship at a fashion company. It was a cool experience, but I realised that fashion was not the world for me.
- Ok, so I’m doing that, but I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up? Think about where do you want to be in 5 years. Financially, personally, professionally, physically, life wise? Do you want to be living in New York, able to run a marathon with many many zeros in your bank account, working a kick arse job? (Hats off to you if you do #goals). You probably need to start working towards that goal now. Try and figure out what can you do now, that will give you that later. What opportunities do you need to take advantage of? What course do you need to study? What do you need to get involved with at uni? Write a detailed list and try and map out the path. Top tip: have a look at our real stories so you can see the pathway of girls already before you – and how they figured out where they want to be.
And, hot tip, next time someone asks you what you want to do in your life, just smile, and say “it’s a surprise! You’ll just have to stay tuned.”