Who do you want to be?

March 7, 2013 6:51 pm

graduationAs a third-year University student, I am used to my family and friends ask me what I’m ‘going to do’ when I graduate. This question makes my stomach drop. In the past year alone, I have decided that I was going to pursue careers in marketing, nursing, modelling (don’t laugh, we can all dream), management, drama-therapy, psychology…the list is endless. Nursing was the interest I took furthest, undergoing a week long ‘introduction to care’ course which enabled me to work in a nursing home to gain experience. I even went for an interview at my local college to talk about doing a conversion course into nursing. Then, one night as I lay in bed, I suddenly got cold shivers. I realised I wasn’t enjoying the nursing home. I wasn’t good with blood and needles, and I needed to divert my career path.

I panic because I like to have a plan. Not knowing what path I am taking troubles me on a daily basis, despite constant assurance that I will ‘find my way’ and ‘not to worry’. It scares me to see so many people leaving university and floating into the first job that comes their way. I feel inadequate without a direction and a focus. I’ve always been a worrier, and seem to feel like I somehow have less to offer to a potential employer than anyone else. This made me think that what I needed was a good look at what I enjoy and what I am good at naturally.

I realised that what I am ‘good at’ has been staring me in the face all along: writing. Poems, articles, stories…I’ve written since I was young, excelling in English Language and Literature due to my analytical mind. I went on to take English Language at college (as well as Geography, but we can forget that one…), and finally decided on English Literature with Drama as my University degree. I love reading and analysing words, and am fanatic about magazines and gossip. The perfect path for me now seems slightly clearer. I am interested in features writing at the moment, sticking my toe into every magazine doorway and trying hard to make myself stand out.

I think the issue is that I, like many, never want to feel like I’m doing the wrong thing in my life. I want to feel happy, successful and settled like everyone I see in their generic instagram pictures, smiling with work friends or relaxing with a glass of wine in their new apartment. It’s about wanting to feel grown up and settled; two things that don’t relate to the University lifestyle, which is more about parties and nocturnal living. Being in the real world seems daunting as there’s no essay deadline; you have to go out there and get your life sorted, by yourself.

My advice to everyone out there who is confused and feels slightly terrified of a world outside of university is to sit down and have a proper think about what you enjoy, what you’re good at and what skills you have. I also suggest asking family and friends what they think your strengths are. It’s important and eye opening to hear what others see in you; skills that you yourself may have overlooked as unimportant. Other than this, it may be a case of trying out a few different things via work experience, much like I did with the Nursing Home. Just remember, things will work themselves out. Try not to lose too much sleep.

Who knows…I might want to be a zoo keeper next week!

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