For the next four months, I will be completing my university degree. Then, from the end of May, for possibly the first time in my life, I have no idea what I'll be doing. I'm both excited and completely terrified.
For most of my life so far, I've always known pretty much what I'd be doing the next year; school, then university. And now suddenly, I don't. Part of me is excited at the prospect, that I could go off and do anything! I'm tired of being in education and I'm definitely ready for a change. There's something exhilarating about my future being so unknown. I also have no commitments tying me down; I'm free as a bird, and there's a whole world of possibilities I want to go and explore.
But I'm also petrified. To go from always having some sort of plan, to not having much of one at all is scary. I've always been very organised about things, and plan ahead a lot. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of spontaneity from time to time; I've just never done it in such a potentially extreme case before. But what scares me the most is this: I can go off and do whatever I want, without commitments or restrictions. But what if I can't?
What I mean by this, is that the job market nowadays is terrible. I have all these ideas and hopes for my future, but what if I can't achieve them, because I can't get either the job I want, or one that will give me the money and flexibility to do the other things I want in life? A job is not everything, I have plenty of ambitions that aren't career-orientated; but it is the means of financing most of these things. And I'm not saying I want a career right now, the sort of job that will have me set for life. I'll be twenty one when I graduate, so I feel that this is the time to mess around and try different things and go travelling. I don't mind working whatever job I can get for the time being, in order to fund my travels, or maybe even just to be a pay-cheque while I figure other things out. But I don't want to be stuck doing something I hate forever.
To be more specific, I want to travel for a few years, and will probably teach English while travelling to fund this. That part's fine; I have no set plans yet, but I have a few things in the pipeline. It's after that I'm worried about. My education has left my parents, and myself, with certain expectations about the sort of job I'll end up in; something that makes use of my hard-earned degree, preferably with a decent pay-cheque to match. But what if I can't get that? Or what if I get that, but hate it? What if what I enjoy doesn't meet my parents' expectations?
What I think I'd like to do is a job involving publishing or media of some sort. I don't have a specific job in mind, because I know that this is a very difficult industry to make it in. Nearly every other English graduate has the same idea. I've spent half my life not knowing what I want to do; now that I'm slowly starting to figure it out, I'm scared that I won't get there. I'm a hard worker and a fast learner, but I lack a lot of experience in these areas, beyond writing online. It's that ridiculous Catch-22, or not having the experience to get the job to get the experience. Because my interest in this has only arisen recently, and is still probably not as strong as others, I haven't been chasing down opportunities yet; but I bet plenty of others in my position have. So I'm worried that no one will give me a chance in this sector, when the competition is so stiff.
As I say, this isn't something I'm looking to do for at least a few more years, so I have time to try to get some experience. I just worry that I'll never have as much free time as I do at university, and my have missed my best chance. It's true that people change jobs and sectors all the time; but sometimes that's far easier said than done. And it's true that I'm only twenty and still have loads of time to figure things out. And I"m ok with that, really. I'm almost looking forward to messing around a bit for the next decade or so, while I can. I'm just terrified that I'll never actually get my life together. I'm scared that I'll fail.