When the academic year is coming to a close and exams are approaching, it’s common to be asked the question ‘so what are your plans for the future?’ especially if you’re coming towards the end of a significant point in your academic life, often meaning possibly further education, or career prospects, which can be overwhelming as there are endless possibilities out there in the world. It is perfectly acceptable to be unsure of what you want to do! At a young age it’s not easy to plan out a life ahead of you, as there are so many directions available, and your thoughts and feelings may change over time, which is okay! There are many adults that are unsure of what they envision as a long term career path they want to pursue, so there is no pressure to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life right now. Obsessing and over thinking the future is not healthy if it is causing you stress. Sometimes it’s good to focus on the present.
I’m going to be sitting my final exams before going to university, and I often get asked what I want to do after university, and honestly, I have no idea! I have no particular career paths or goals in mind, but I want to focus on the present which is working hard in my exams and working hard towards a degree. I have a whole lifetime to figure out what I want to do long term, and instead of being overwhelmed and intimidated, I personally feel excited that there are so many paths I can explore, however I have previously experienced that daunting feeling of not knowing what I wanted to study at university before making my decision.
If you do decide to pursue something and change your mind if you don’t enjoy it as much as you’d hoped, or if the thing you’ve pursued is completely different to what you initially expected, that is fine! There is no set path you need to take in order to succeed, and there are many different options available which might work out better for you. It is important that you are in control of your future, and no-one else should decide what career path you should go down, and no-one else should have control over your life.
If your exam results this summer aren’t what you expected, it doesn’t mean your career is going to be hindered in any way. There are always options available for you, and in some cases you can re-sit the exams, or approach a potential career path from a different angle, maybe through an apprenticeship or voluntary work. It’s also good to be open to new opportunities and new career options you may not have previously considered. You may find something you love that you weren’t expecting!
If you find yourself with some free time this summer, there is a great program called NCS (National Citizen Service) available to 15-17 year olds in the UK in which you can develop team building, leadership, and other essential life skills through activities such as creating a social action project, staying at an outdoor activity centre, and staying at a university style accommodation to help you prepare your budgeting and living skills. It is a great experience that you can put on your CV and university applications. To find out more:
Also, many charity organisations look for volunteers during the summer, which can be a great opportunity and is also something to put on your CV and university applications.
I hope you found this article reassuring, and I hope you find happiness in whatever you decide to do. The most important thing is to make a decision that is right for you, and that will make you happy.