Kate Heslop is an English Language and Linguistics graduate from England with a Fashion Journalism course from London. She has worked in the media since graduating and is now taking the leap into teaching English and freelance journalism. She loves travelling, nostalgia and is forever lost in a good book
Starting college can feel like the scariest thing in the world. You have committed the next few years to studying something so specific and everything you do is based around that decision – but what if that’s not the dream forever? What if you change your mind?
At college you will inevitably change your dream career and life goals with every other glass of wine with friends. That’s totally normal and will probably outlive your college years. We are indecisive as humans, and approach change with caution. But don’t think that the career path you had your eye on in your freshman year is the way to go. If you’re lucky, it will be, and you’ll get there faster. But, for most of us, it’s an ever-changing future in our minds.
One day you could dream of writing a novel, the next you’re searching for nursing courses. Maybe that psychology major is suddenly looking irrelevant, and a media career is looking more appealing. Well stop fretting, because that’s fine. Life is full of experiences ready to be seized, and not everyone thinks about pension plans and hearty commitments in their twenties.
You have the option to change your course at any time. Sure, it might feel like you’ve wasted time or money – but you have to make the right decision for you. Some people will stick it out in college with their original plan, but get internships and work experience on the side in a number of different sectors – just to figure it out and see what’s out there. Where do your skills lie? What do you love doing in your spare time? Who do you idolise and look up to? The answers you give, along with your studies, could lead you to somewhere really great.
So when the guidance counsellors or your lecturers ask you: ‘where do you see yourself in five to ten years?’ – don’t lie. Don’t say what you think they want to hear. There is nothing wrong with saying ‘I have no idea’. Your major could be the one – it could be the beginning of a fantastic career. Or it could be the thing that leads you to something greater. Your time studying could be more about life lessons rather than the things you learn in books.
Living away from home will give you an incredible, and sometimes overwhelming, amount of independence and freedom. Getting a part-time job will open doors for you financially. Internships could be the key to figuring out your future career route. The friendships you make could be the ones you keep for the rest of your life.
College is about gaining experience – so don’t feel the pressure.
Enjoy the flow and momentum of college life. Take every opportunity and hold onto your new best friends. Make travelling plans, juggle the idea of numerous careers, different places to live in – because nothing is ever certain. As long as you’re learning, growing and having a whole lot of fun – THAT is what college is really about.