Nicole is a sophomore at Portland Community College. She is pursuing an Associate’s of Art transfer degree then plans to transfer to a four-year university. Nicole is currently involved with several alternative education programs in Portland and spends much of her time volunteering with those organizations. In her spare time she enjoys playing the guitar, singing, driving, interacting with people, and practicing yoga.
How many times have you found yourself worrying and getting increasingly more frustrated as you contemplate the fact that you still don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life?
Unless you’re someone who has just always known what they wanted to do for a living, the harsh reality is that the majority of us have had to think long and hard about it. It’s a terrible phase that haunts us for the rest of our lives. It takes some people years to find out what their true calling is, and in some cases, they might never be able to make a decision. Imagine this actually happening to you… that would be a nightmare, right?
Wrong! For so long, we’ve all learned to associate not having your life figured out by a certain age with ideas like failure, being financially unstable, or being incompetent, and that terrifies us. But think about it… is there actually anything wrong with not knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life? Is it really fair to set such unacheivable expectations for ourselves at such a young age? Of course not, but we’ve been so conditioned to think a certain way about careers and other major future planning, when we should really just… relax.
So instead of dwelling on these thoughts, shift your attention to a different perspective. Begin to observe and identify what really makes you happy. Pay attention to how you feel in certain environments, how you feel around certain people, and how you feel when doing certain activities. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like.
Most importantly, do not limit yourself. Try new things. You can’t possibly find out what your passion is if you don’t explore your world! Take that class you’ve always found intimidating, land that internship you’ve been so curious about, or take that vacation you’ve been dying to take. You’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish and what benefits you can reap by expanding your horizons, and discovering a new you and a happier life.
The only person who has the power to control your life and the things you decide to do with it, is you. If you want to take a year or so off and travel across the seas, or donate your time to volunteering, or whatever you feel like doing, you have every right to! Nobody can hold you back, and if you let them, you can’t really ever be happy. Life is what you make it, so why not make it exactly what you want? People’s opinions only have an effect on you if you allow it.
Interestingly enough, you have your entire life to figure out who you are. Things are constantly changing, the people around you are changing, and you, you will always be growing and changing as a person. Consistency is a fantasy (for some, at least), especially at this age. If you feel so inclined to figure out now who you are and what you want to do for the rest of your life, that’s great for you! But please, please do it the right way.