Where do I go next? What does the future have in store for me? What career will I have for the rest of my life? These are just an array of questions I ask myself from time to time, and now with the second year of my degree in full swing, alarm bells have started ringing as these questions need to be answered.
As melodramatic as it sounds, I used to think I knew what I wanted to do with my life - I had it all planned out from the word go. I was adamant that museum curating was my calling, therefore everything I had done thus far was done with this in mind; the time spent volunteering at countless museums, not to mention my recent British Museum summer school opportunity. Of course I value every experience, but I can't help but feeling it's a waste if I don't want to go down this career path anymore. It suddenly struck me that the job I had been working towards all my life may not be my dream job anymore, and I have to admit, my world was turned a little upside down.
This panic probably stems from the fact that I'm twenty-something now and feeling the pressure to do something with my life instead of being the lazy teenager who is somehow socially permitted to slack. However, I can't help but think that the system is partly at fault here - this is what happens when we are forced to decide what to do for the rest of our lives from the mere age of 16. You suddenly find yourself doubting whether your dream job of pet food tasting or golf ball diving is the right career for you, as you leave university unemployed, living off mum and desperately clinging to the legs of an employer in the futile hope that if you grovel enough they might actually give you a job. Yet all of the begging and pleading is worth it, as it lands you a job you kind of like, for people you kind of tolerate, with money that is kind of enough for your cost of living.
As depressing as it sounds, I've come to the grim realisation that this is probably the likelihood of my future given the average age of moving from home is now 30 and last year alone, 60,000 students found themselves in "non-professional" roles. At school, you're told that it's fine if you don't know what you want to do in the future. It's fine for the sum total of about 5 months and then you're expected to get your act together and sort out several summer internships unless you want to face unemployment. The pressure can become too much, that sometimes you need time to take a step back and breathe.
Despite what's been said, it is key to look beyond the sea of crippling debt and rejection for your own sanity. Society seems to forget that there is more to life than work, or from a student perspective it certainly seems that way. I've learned to accept that my dream career is no longer the dream and that's fine - to expect a 16 year old to predict what they want to do in their 20s is irrational at best, and this gives me time to find out what I really want in life. In an attempt to rekindle my passion for the world, I've started taking up my hobby of photography once again. Taking up my cherished hobbies has opened up a range of doors for me, and it is important to keep your options open as much as possible at this stage.
It is all too easy for the world of work to become the be-all and end-all which is what university tries to subconsciously enforce. This couldn't possibly sound more teen fiction but what this 'career crisis' has taught me is that it's okay not to have your entire life planned out from day one. I'm learning to appreciate the finer things in life; I feel best when I'm experimenting with my creative side, be it photography or web-page designing. For those of you who feel like you're in the same boat - immerse yourself in what you love. When I find time, I like to take solace in my blog (whether or not anyone actually reads it) or dabble in various other hobbies: it keeps you grounded and makes you hate life a little less.
Original post can be found on my blog: http://unenlightenedstudent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/where-do-we-go-from-here.html