Despite the pressure from society, I’m perfectly happy not knowing what I want to do for a career – and here’s why.
When you leave university, there’s a lot of pressure for you to know exactly what you’re going to do next and what your long-term goals are. I’m lucky that my parents don’t really put that pressure on me. But I have plenty of friends and family who, every time I see them, ask what I want to do. And they always look a bit disgruntled when I reply, smiling, ‘I don’t know.’
Fighting The Pressure
It happened as my time at university was nearing its end too. Lecturers would finish their lessons and then ask, ‘So, what have you guys got lined up after uni?’
I know it came from a somewhat caring place (although some were definitely just thinking about university statistics), but I still wanted to roll my eyes. That pressure is everywhere. When filling out a survey about my time at university there was a five-minute section just on plans for your future, and I took some pleasure in continually selecting ‘Not Sure.’
Financially, that pressure is unavoidable. Leaving university means facing ‘the real world’. Bills coming out your ears and trying to find somewhere to live that isn’t with half a dozen other students. That is more than enough to reconsider the ‘Not knowing what I want to do’ stance – but it shouldn’t be.
Young and Free
I keep telling people that your twenties are a time for trying things out. Of course, some people don’t have that luxury and don’t have the option of not knowing what they want to do. But if you do, I say go for it.
In my course, the majority of my classmates want to become teachers. That’s not a bad thing – it’s a job highly in demand, it’s rewarding and it’s incredibly important. But it’s not the only thing people who study English can do. When I tell other people what I studied, they presume I want to be a teacher too.
No bone in my body wants to be a teacher.
Right now, I write for work and I also have a part-time job in a shop. I enjoy both and they pay the bills, so I’m more than happy where I am. I know that the job in a shop won’t be forever, but I’m really content where I am, so why change that?
I think I want I always want to write for a career, but plans change and so do aspirations. I’m twenty-two, I don’t need to have my whole life planned out. And neither do you.
If you’re sat there with pressure coming from all angles, panicking that you don’t know what you want to do, then think: do I need to? The likelihood is – no, you don’t need it all planned out.
Live in the moment a little, enjoy being young and try out new things for a bit. You’ll stumble upon something you love someday, but today doesn’t have to be that day.