Figuring out what to do with the rest of your life

Having options is generally a good thing, but there can be such a thing as overload. Students today are presented with a myriad of choices that they have to make each year that will have a direct impact on where they end up in their lives and careers. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with in addition to any pressure being applied by family to ensure that you are making good choices.

When I was doing my undergraduate degree many years ago, I knew many students who were doing their degrees because they thought that it was what they were supposed to do, because their parents had told them they should/must be a doctor, or because they really didn’t know what to do with their lives and this seemed like a good default. Living your life in default mode is not really living your life.

We often tell students that they should work or study in a field that they are passionate about, but passion alone will not put food on the table or a roof over your head. The opposite is to do something that provides a steady stream of income, but I’ve seen that option lead to burnout and depression. I’d suggest that the healthiest option is a compromise; attempt to find employment that you enjoy and find interesting and that provides enough financial compensation for you to live comfortably. The other way to look at this is to avoid doing things that you hate. Completing an undergraduate degree is a useful way to figure out tasks and subjects that you hate and in the future you can do your best to avoid these as much as possible. You will probably never get through life completely avoiding things that you hate, but you can certainly design your life to minimize it.

Each situation is obviously different, but life is too short to be unhappy or to allow someone else to make your choices for you. When you are young you have lots of time available to try new experiences and see how they make you feel. There really is no rush to get on with the rest of your life, but it is better to make conscious choices about your future than to ride the tides of apathy.


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