Have you no idea what you’re going to do when you “grow up”? Well the reassuring fact is, not many young people do! Obviously I’m not going to tell you what you should do or what direction to head to, but I’ll share with you some advice that I have received myself over the past two years.
When I left school, I had no idea what I wanted to do and chose to do Health & Social Care at college, as I liked the idea of midwifery. When at college I decided to apply for midwifery, however changed my mind as I realised I wasn’t passionate about it! So then reapplied to do teaching, which I was successful and got a place at Northumbria University in Newcastle.
I only completed one semester at Uni, as I wasn’t happy due to being very homesick but also not convinced that this was the route I wanted to take. I left Newcastle and returned home, which wasn’t easy. I felt judged for coming home and quitting, I felt like a failure.
I quickly secured a job doing admin for the NHS, where two promotions and one and a half years later I still am today. Reflecting back on my 18 year old self, it’s clear that I was no way ready for university, emotionally and physically. Leaving was the best thing I did. Getting a full-time job for the first time catapulted me into the “real world”, where I gained my independence and matured a hell of a lot.
Although doing what I’m doing now has been a great start to my career, I want to go further. I want to have an exciting career. I want to be successful. Doing what you may ask, well I’m still to figure that out…
When I left University a bit bruised and licking my wounds I turned to everyone for advice, from my parents, family members, my boyfriend, friends, colleagues, managers and some of the bosses at work. This advice has been extremely valuable and helpful, so I thought I’d share the best bits with you!.
DON’T feel pressured to do something
If you feel like you have to do something because others want you to, then you’re not going to be truly happy. Maybe your parents want you to go to University but perhaps you’d rather enter the working world straight away, don’t be forced into going to please your parents. The chances are you wouldn’t enjoy it AND you probably wouldn’t do as well because of this (oh and let’s not mention the £21,000 you’ll save on student fees).
DON’T do something purely based on money
People say money makes the world go round… But I’m pretty sure there’s actually some scientific explanation for why the Earth spins. I know it’s definitely not money! Choosing a career just for the sole reason that you’re guaranteed a good salary will more than likely guarantee you stress and unhappiness. If when you think to yourself “why do I want to do said career” the main reason is because it’s associated with good money, maybe have another think!
DON’T go to University if you’re not 100%
Going to University is a huge commitment (especially if you’re moving away from home) and it’s a life changing decision! You really need to think long and hard about your choices, as not only is it life changing, like mentioned previously it’s very expensive! If you just like the idea of moving out and living the party lifestyle and you’re not actually really that bothered about the degree course you’ve chosen, you seriously need to reevaluate your priorities! On the other hand if you’re just not sure Uni is right for you full stop, then you don’t have to go right away. Take a gap year; experience a year as a “proper adult” working full-time. This gives you valuable experience and more time to think about what you should do, you can always go to Uni at a later time… I am this year; doing something I know I’ll enjoy, which leads on to my next point!
DO something that makes you happy
Do you hate Mondays? If yes, why? It’s most likely to be because you’re not doing something you enjoy! Sounds simple, right? If you’re not happy with what you’re doing now, change it! Don’t think “what if” or that you’re not good enough… You don’t know until you try! My biggest passion is theatre, but I’ve always doubted my abilities and would think to myself that it would be very unlikely for me to have a successful career in theatre. Have I tried? No. So this year I decided to give it a go, as I know for sure I’ll love it! Therefore I’m going to study theatre at Uni, knowing that I’m much more ready for it this time round!
DO speak to lots of people
Speak to friends, family and colleagues about their job and how they got there! People often start out doing something completely different to what they do now and it’s interesting to learn the route they took! You never know it may end up giving you some inspiration and you finally get that light bulb moment!
DO put yourself out there and be positive
Volunteer your time, meet new people, start a new hobby, join an activity group. Be as proactive as you can be! Try something new, network with other professionals and always have a ‘can do’ attitude! Who knows who you’ll meet and what path that may take you down! Life is an exciting journey!
I still don’t know what I’ll do after my degree, but that’s three years down the line, so I have plenty of time to figure that out! What I do know is that I’m finally going to do something I’m passionate about, so I know I’m heading down the right track! My biggest piece of advice is to make sure whatever you choose to do, make sure it makes you happy! If you have a job that you love, it will hardly feel like work! Aim to do something that makes you LOVE Mondays! (God, I’m starting to sound like the Reed advert…) Hope you find this helpful!