Saturday, 8 November 2014

I don't know what to do with my life

Having happened just under 4 months ago, graduation seems to be a distant memory. In fact, university is fast becoming a slightly mythical place. Did I really only have 6 hours of lectures a week? Did I actually complain about having to get up at 9am once or twice a term? Did I seriously think it was a good idea to stay in bed all day just because I had been a little hungover first thing when I woke up? Somehow adult life has swallowed me up and my fun-loving, studenty self has been replaced by a slightly grumpier, busier version. I didn't think it would happen this quickly.

But some things have not changed. And I really hoped they would have by now.

When I left university, I was feeling unbelievably lost. All my friends seemed to be walking straight into various jobs while I still had no idea which path I wanted to continue down. I spent most of the summer, (alongside applying for a few jobs in EVERYTHING: marketing, charities, publishers, various writing jobs, you name it, I tried to get a job in it) putting off a career decision, month by month. First I was having a rest, then I went to Malta and Paris, and then I realised that I didn't actually need a job yet as I wasn't leaving my current job until the end of September. And then I wasn't being paid for my September work until the end of October. So it wasn't pressing that I made this decision about which type of job to apply for, until November...right? But I wasn't stupid. I knew I needed something, so I kept an eye out and applied for a few. And then panicked because I wasn't even getting to interviews for anything.

Eventually I decided to add retail to my list of potential jobs ideas, applying for a handful of jobs in my local shopping centre. And was really happy to be accepted by Mamas & Papas at the beginning of October.

It's absolutely perfect there. The work is faintly interesting, but doesn't take huge amounts of brain power (plus when I leave work, I can forget about it completely which you just can't do with teaching). The people, both the customers and my fellow colleagues, are absolutely lovely. And finally it's really flexible so I have a few days off a week. Which I use to either research other job ideas, blog or write my novel and I teach piano alongside everything else. Therefore it really is great for me.

But since accepting the job, I have had to explain to various friends, relatives and strangers why, despite having a degree, I've decided to return to shopwork. Which to be honest, I am a little bit sick of. It is not really anyone's business and I shouldn't have to explain my decisions (which, believe me, are in my best interests) to anyone.

All my friends seem to have their lives under control...the majority of them are teaching or are in some other form of fulltime employment with a stable yearly wage. They know what they want to do next and I am so envious of that. I sometimes think I am the only one who is going slightly nuts and have no clue what is happening. But you know what, I am not alone. And if you are reading this and thinking, 'this sounds familiar' I want to assure you that you are not alone either. It is perfectly normal for us to be a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly we have a choice in what we want to do next and how we live our lives (I KNOW - unheard of). Suddenly there aren't any parents or teachers or lecturers bossing us around, telling us what we have to do and when we have to do it. Suddenly we can actually make our own decisions. Which is why my brain has gone 'eek I don't want to, don't make me.' It has had no practice in this area at all.

So go ahead. Try new things, go see a new country, make mistakes, date ridiculous people, join a club, juggle several jobs at once, go out for a few too many cocktails, dream of impossible careers and riches...go out and live your life. It's a big world out there. And it's time we experienced some of it.

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  1. Thanks for writing this post - it's so reassuring to know that feeling overwhelmed like I am at the moment is completely normal! Although I've got at least another year of uni to go (I'm in my second year), I'm already feeling daunted by the prospect of having to decide what career path I want to go down, when to be honest I have no idea whatsoever! I feel like our lives as students at uni are put on fast-forward most of the time, what with the pressure to apply for work experience and internships during the holidays, combined with all the work we have to just makes it all the more daunting when the real world beckons and we actually, as you said, have to make our own decisions! Good luck with whatever you decide to do :)

    1. It's so true. But it's ok to leave the decision a while and really take some time to think about what you want to do, once you are away from the pressures of uni. Don't rush it =] thank you and good luck to you as well =]