The dreaded question: “So, what do you plan to do after university?”
I have to admit that I’m guilty of asking it myself; probably because I’m one of those annoying people who have an actual plan for their life after university. I attribute that fact to my childhood days in which I HAD to have a plan or else I couldn’t sleep at night (yes, as a ten year-old I had to have my life planned out). As a result I cycled through dozens of plans until I decided on the one I’m pursuing today. But, today is not about what my plan is, because that isn’t particularly relevant. What I want to talk about is how pretty much every twenty-something year old I’ve ever talked to (besides me) has no idea what they’re going to do with their lives.
I am here to tell you: it’s okay to not know right now. Pretty much no one does. (Again, me being the exception.) If you don’t believe me, go talk to your friends. I will bet you five bucks that they don’t have their lives planned out either.
Also: you don’t have to know even by the time you graduate. You can change your major a bajillion times, you can even go back to school after graduation if you discover your true passion later on. Plenty of people don’t find their “thing” until they’re forty or something. If that seems depressing to you, a) take heart in the fact that you aren’t the only one that’s unsure at the age of 20, b) be encouraged that your passion is in fact out there somewhere, and c) if that’s not enough just go try as much stuff as you possibly can to try and find that one thing that you love and want to spend your life doing. If you don’t go looking, you aren’t going to find anything.
I would like to present to you a story: the story of my mom (her career, that is). My mother graduated from high school a year early and completed a bachelor of business or whatever it is called at the University of Manitoba. She then went on to McMaster University and completed a BMA so that she could become an accountant. She had several accounting jobs but never stayed for more than two years because she just found the work so incredibly boring. Then she had me and my sisters and she stopped working for twelve years (in which she was a full-time mom). She enjoyed that time, but when I started junior high school she started studying library science at a local college. She started working at the city library at the bottom of the chain, which was boring at first. She moved up the ranks as she stayed there for several years, and she liked some branches she worked at more than others. Now, she is working at a couple of schools, as a librarian and also as an educational assistant for the band, theatre, and art departments. Pretty far from accounting – but she loves it! She gets hours she’s happy with, she has fun at her job, she loves her coworkers, and she gets Christmas and summers off, too. Took her a long time, but she found a job she loves.
It just goes to show that your university degree doesn’t necessarily define what the rest of your life will look like – and also that you’ll find the job you love if you keep on looking, even if you don’t know what it is right now.