Thursday, 21 November 2013

What happens next?

If you are around 21 or 22 years old I think you should give yourself a pat on the back. You have made it through 14 years of school, conquering SATS (when are these going to be scrapped?? These kids have only just learnt to write for goodness sake); GCSEs (and its coursework) and A levels (and its COURSEWORK). You stressed through personal statements and university applications. You managed to grab one of those elusive places (I still have no idea how I did that!) and you furiously scribbled your way through more COURSEWORKKKKK, presentations, essays, reports, commentaries, evaluations and exams to get that degree certificate. You're still in your early twenties and you have never before been able to move without a hefty textbook falling on your toe. But now, what has almost been 20 years of education, has come abruptly to a halt. And you are in the big bad world.

WHAT THE HELL DO YOU DO NOW?

This is what hit me this morning. Whilst walking to a placement to get experience in a field that I know I definitely do not want to work in. The enormity of it all suddenly crashed into me. In just over six months, I will be free which should be super exciting. And it is. But it is rather like letting a child out of a playpen and into a ginormous toyshop. I have no idea where to turn. And it all costs money.

Unfortunately for me, not many of my friends are sharing my concerns. I am on a teacher training course so the majority of them know exactly what they want to do, come September. Snaps for them. I, however, have decided that teaching isn't for me and, as good as it is that I have found this out now rather than later, it has left me more than a little lost. Because I have virtually no clue about what I do actually want to do. Funnily enough, a mere few hours after having a mini melt down about this, my friend (on a different continent, hundreds of miles away) who graduated last July, messaged me for a chat, desperately needing my sympathy/advice because she was freaking about the exact same thing. It was good to know that I wasn't alone. And I have a sneaky feeling that the majority of people who are at university not doing a vocational course will be experiencing something roughly the same.

So my advice is this (I will try to stick to these rules as well)....use your twenties to try things out. Apply to every single job that takes your fancy and see what suits you. Don't get stuck doing something you hate (plenty of time to do that later) and definitely don't sell your soul to a company quite yet. No need to settle until you are completely sure you are not going to want to slit your wrists in 20 years time. If you want to travel, do that now too. Once you are on the job ladder, it will be so much harder to pull yourself off it and go back to having no money/having to start on the bottom rung again. And finally, don't worry about the future - try not to judge a job on whether you want to still be doing this in 20 or 30 years time because invariably that will freak you out. Just take each day/year as it comes. You will manage to find something eventually as life somehow does have a way of working itself out. That's the hope I am clinging to anyway.

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