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The Next Big Thing in Life: What Do You Want to Do?

Leaving College, Starting Life and Not Knowing What to Do

At the eve of finishing my A levels and actually starting my life, I’ve been continuously faced with the dreaded question, "What do you want to do after college?" or, even worse,"What do you want to do in life?"

Sometimes I just want to look them in the eye and scream, "I’m 17! I don’t f**cking know!" Does anyone know? Should I know? Why don’t I know? I think it’s fair to say that it’s hard to know what you want to spend your life doing when you’ve only been on the earth for 17 short years.

Saying that, I do have a few ideas of the general direction I want my life to head career-wise. I’ve been told they are farfetched or, in my own mothers’ words, "silly." I’ve also been told to "reconsider" because it’s not "practical." In other words, I’ve been given a lot of grief about my plans for the future. So, in light of this, I’ve compiled some tips and advice on how I have personally dealt with this post-education crisis.

  1. Take a gap year. If you really are stuck for ideas on what to do after college, take a gap year. However, don’t waste it! Do volunteering, try out different hobbies, work experience, go traveling, temping or start your own business. Try out courses for something you’re interested in. Gap years are great if you use them wisely, find something you love and see if you can incorporate it into your career.
  2. Lists. Sit down when you’re feeling positive and compile a list of everything that interests you. Luckily for us, we have the internet so you can find jobs or apprenticeships that link to what you love easily. Note down everything you find and narrow it down to two or three and go from there. I guarantee you will find jobs and careers that you’ve never heard of before.
  3. Work experience. Work experience is great for when you’ve found something that interests you but want to make sure that you’ll actually enjoy working that job. It’s unpaid obviously, but the benefits of work experience are priceless. I recently did work experience in a company thinking I wanted to go into marketing but actually, when I experienced the job I found out that it was actually communications I wanted to work in.
  4. Use careers advisors in college. You probably know they’re there but either don’t want to use them or think it won’t be worth it. I get it, but, if you’re well and truly stuck it can’t hurt to try everything you can.
  5. Don’t panic! It’s easier said than done, I know, but just keep in mind that everything always works out. You’re still young with a whole life ahead of you. Trust that fate will guide you down the path you’re destined to follow, and that everything happens for a reason.
This is potentially one of the most stressful times in a lot of peoples lives, so don’t forget to always put your mental health first. Remember you are the only one living your life, so look after yourself. If you have any more tips that I haven’t included, I’d love to hear them either via comments or email!

- Bella

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The Next Big Thing in Life: What Do You Want to Do?
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