As a student more than halfway through my degree, I’ve often had to face this question: what do you want to do with your life? My parents ask me with a caring concern, wanting me to have a plan for success. My friends ask me so we can rant and stress about our impending futures. And I ask myself, because in all honesty, I have absolutely no clue.
My journey began when I entered university without really having any idea what I wanted to do. I was accepted into a program and I’ve stuck with it, despite not necessarily loving it. Even my grades aren’t that bad, but I’ve been studying this for three years without any real interest or dislike for it.
That might sound nice to some people, that I managed to do well without even liking the subject itself, but it isn’t that great. It made me wonder how my university years could have unfolded if I had actually studied in a program that I genuinely had an interest in. After a wake-up call I had, when a family member of mine suffered through a season of depression, I do not know what happened to me… but I guess I just leaked (for lack of a better word) out of my own bindings.
As a hopeful graduate this year, I’m starting to think about what I’m doing with my life next year.
The options are endless—I could travel the world, I could volunteer, I could apply to a graduate program, I could apply to a college program, I could even say “Not today!” and just sleep all day, every day!
Or, you know, the dreaded… finding a job thing.
I have heard horror stories and seen memes about undergrads trying to find jobs. That endless cycle of needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience. Or needing a Masters or a Ph.D. to get a job but then being overqualified for said job. How is this possible? How do I get experience in my field… with no prior experience in my field??
I am currently working two jobs and taking six courses. My jobs are not in my field, and I don’t think much of my coursework counts as job experience. If anything, I have barely enough work to put together a portfolio of some sort (I’m in CCIT and English), and even if I can make one, how valid will that be to an employer if it is not from the actual workforce?
One of my friends has already secured a job for next year. People, I am freaking out.
I talked to a career counselor two years ago, and she told me that one of the best ways to get this mythical experience is by getting involved in relevant organizations on campus that have something to do with my field so that I can put them on my resume. I have been trying to do that. However, already having a lot on my plate with jobs and school, I admit it’s difficult and requires intense time management (shoutout to the Passion Planner) and little to no time for myself. I like to think that I am involved, but is it enough? What do employers want?
Dear Future Me,
I hope you are well. This is you, at 22, writing a blog post to inquire about your life, tell you about mine, and perhaps motivate you to do bigger and better things than you’ve already accomplished, to always strive for more.
First, do you still drink three teas a day? I don’t think it’s good for you. Sometimes, the caffeine makes you nauseous. When this happens, I hope you still hydrate and take (*dramatic gasp*) a few days off tea.
It is 2016 and I am about to graduate from UTM. I feel conscious of time, because I remember graduating from high school like it happened last night. I remember wearing tall black heels and a leopard-print A-line dress and shaking hands with the principal at Brampton Centennial Secondary, receiving an Ontario Secondary School Diploma to-go.
Do you have it “figured out”? Do you know what you want to do with the rest of your life, what career you want to have in the future? If you answer yes, you’re
doing something right! For the vast majority of students who say no, don’t fret.
Unless you’re in fourth year—then perhaps “fretting” isn’t such a bad course of
action. It’s normal not to know where you want to go and what you want to do with
your life; choosing to go to UTM was hard enough. Mapping out the rest of our
lives… How the heck are we expected to do that when we can’t even decide on the
foods we want to eat and how we want to pass the time today? In my opinion, not
knowing what you want to do with your life at this very moment is okay; provided
are some examples and statistics that are aimed to ease some of your fears for
the foreseeable future. Of course, if you do currently have clear career goals,
please read on with those in mind; perhaps you’ll learn something that you hadn’t
majority of jobs that current grade school students will have in the future haven’t
even been created yet. Please do some research online; you will find various
statistics to support this claim in some fashion. The dynamics of economies are
changing in light of technological advances, whether we want them to or not.
That means that you will likely be employed in a job later in your career that
doesn’t even exist yet. How do you even attempt to plan for 10 or 20 years in
the future when we don’t know what the job market will look like at that point
in time? As a UTM student, you have a wide variety of opportunities and events
to network with professionals and learn about the world at large. If you choose
to take advantage of as many of those experiences as you can, you will learn
new skills and advice that will benefit you later in life. Every experience,
good or bad, is a learning
experience; be open to these opportunities and your life may head in an
exciting and unexpected direction. If you have an interest in something, follow
up on it while you still have the time—you never know where it’ll take you.
lives, and indeed the world, will change in ways that we can’t even begin to
understand now. It goes without saying that your career plans will change too.
Very often, reality has a way of hitting us when we least expect it; our lives,
for better or worse, must adapt to those changes. It would be great for life to
play out exactly as we’d like it to, but that’s just not how it goes. How do
you make solid plans for the future when it can all shift so rapidly? That’s
why not knowing your career goals right now is okay; your
life may take an unexpected turn in the road, and your past goals may get replaced
by new ones that are more realistic to your situation. Work hard, confide in
others, believe in yourself, and refuse to give up. You’ll find your way, even though
it might take longer than you’d anticipated.
We will all find our path eventually… Some have
discovered it sooner than others, and that’s okay. The future is uncertain, and
that may seem quite scary to you. You’re not alone; there are probably hundreds
of students at UTM currently that don’t yet know where they want to end up in
the coming years. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to meet people, and to go
in unforeseen directions—easier said than done, but doable nonetheless. You might
just end up where you were meant to be—somewhere new, unexpected, and equally