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Forums / Young people / feeling lost in life

Topic: feeling lost in life

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. AnxiousS
    AnxiousS avatar
    17 posts
    27 May 2020

    hi everyone,

    I'm feeling very lost in life. I'm in the second last year of my commerce degree and I really just don't know where to go from here. I always thought that by this time I would at least have some idea of the career I would want to pursue. There's nothing I'm really passionate about - and certainly nothing that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. I've been looking at internships for this summer, but nothing really excites me and I feel like I'm reluctantly applying, both hoping that I get rejected so I don't have to do it but also worried about how I will ever get a job with no experience if I don't get one. I also don't feel like I'm ready to jump into the 9-5 life, but at the same time I think I would love the independence and financial freedom that a full-time income would give me. I enjoy the student life, but don't want to keep studying just for the sake of not having to get a job (I have to pay that HECS debt off someday)!

    I have considered taking a year off uni, but don't really know what I would do in that year. I feel like I might just end up wasting my time, being bored and working part time at a dead end job which I know would make me depressed and anxious. I would love to travel, but I wouldn't even know where to start to organise that sort of thing especially with this whole pandemic situation and I'm honestly not sure I could really be away for more than a few weeks anyway.

    I just don't know what to do. I feel like everyone around me is starting to figure things out, while I have no more direction than I did 2 years ago. Help!

    Sarah x

  2. Jayla
    Jayla avatar
    6 posts
    27 May 2020 in reply to AnxiousS

    Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing. I can really relate to these feelings - in 2016, I finished a degree and was not sure what to do with my life. Caused me quite a bit of 'existential angst'. I think the current pandemic situation would amplify these feelings, so perhaps they will ease with time? During my bachelor of design, everyone was getting design internships, networking and planning for job interviews etc etc. I wasn't interested in any of that and felt terrible as I felt I was just finishing my degree for the sake of it. And I know you said you're not sold on just continuing to study... but I also didn't want the classic 9-5. So I finished my degree and then enrolled in a master of teaching. Now, I can teach art/design and it's perfect for my lifestyle! Perhaps this first degree is a very important foundation for something yet to come?

    Do you feel like your degree is closely linked with your identity? This sounds so cliche, but maybe you need to balance out your degree with some hobbies and regular self care? Find something you're passionate about outside of work or study. Such as film and television or houseplants or a giant artwork for your wall... find something that excites you without the pressure of productivity, careers or the future... find something just for your self care and enjoyment. Maybe this will help you feel a little more grounded?

    I'm really not sure though, this is tough, especially in the current circumstances.

    Perhaps my ideas are totally off on the wrong track. Let me know :)

    PS: those people that are figuring it out: some are, some aren't. When all my friends 'figured it out' before me, I felt left behind. Now /I/ have figured it out. Some of them have progressed in their careers and are happy with their choices. Some have quit jobs, gone back to study, changed industries... there is no timeline for life. You've got this <3


    1 person found this helpful
  3. AnxiousS
    AnxiousS avatar
    17 posts
    27 May 2020 in reply to Jayla

    Hi Jayla,

    Firstly thanks for replying! I really appreciate it and it's nice to hear from someone else in the same position

    I've always loved sport - those online career tests everyone did in high school often told me to become a professional sportswoman (believe me I would if I could). I volunteer with my sports clubs and love playing team sport any chance I get. I have considered doing something in line with sport, but even then just don't really know where to begin. I guess what worries me most is feeling like once I start my career I'm "trapped". I have to go to work every day and do the same thing for 40 hours a week, and won't have the freedom that student life offers to build my schedule around what works for me and do the things I enjoy.

    Also, I know this might sound superficial, but I do think about how much money I could make in my career (and this is absolutely not me having a go at teaching because I know a lot of my teachers were paid very handsomely). I feel like every time I look at a job there's a voice in the back of my head asking whether I could really support my future on that salary, and whether I would be "throwing away" my intelligence by accepting a job that my parents might consider "below" my potential.

    Sarah x

  4. SarahZ
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    SarahZ avatar
    142 posts
    27 May 2020 in reply to AnxiousS

    Hi Sarah,

    I also found myself in a similar situation at the start of the year too (I am also called sarah too haha!). I was finishing my third year in Arts last year and found myself super stressed about this year - I was hoping to get into Honours and prayed that I would get in thinking it was what would make me happiest. However, now that I'm in Honours I realise the happiness I thought it would give me is not actually here. I guess it just shows that in life we are always seeking the next best thing thinking it will make us happiest, but often the happiness it gives us is only momentary. As cliche as it is, we often go chasing happiness when in reality happiness is often already here, we just need to unearth it.

    I can definitely relate to what you are feeling though! I often felt I had to meet my parents expectation of a "good" career, and maximising my "potential", however now I see it as, is my life about making my parents happy? or what makes me happy? Of course, disappointing your parents is never our intent; however, sometimes a few weeks or months of disappointment from your parents might not seem that bad in comparison to a life time of unhappiness by choosing a career you don't like but think your parents like. Just my opinion though!

    Although easier said than done, try not to be too stressed about your future, nearly everyone at university is in a similar boat (me included). Just as Jayla perfectly said, there is no timeline for life! Don't feel you need to having everything done by a particular age, theres plenty of time to explore and try out different career options. Have you thought about talking to a university career counsellor? they can be useful in mapping out different career pathways that might be of interest to you.

    Wishing you all the best and always here to talk if you want to as well! x

  5. Jayla
    Jayla avatar
    6 posts
    28 May 2020 in reply to AnxiousS

    I’m laughing about the comment about pay! My pay feels far too low for the amount of time and energy that goes into teaching, but I am so truly happy doing it and have realised I can live a minimal life in with optimal enjoyment.

    I also felt worried I would be trapped, but you can always, always, always explore options. I think it’s the norm for people to change jobs and careers throughout their working lives these days.

    It helped me to work out what I wanted to do through visualisation.

    I thought about my dream workspace, office, colleagues and work. I wanted a social job with variations in work. I wanted something that allowed me to continue learning and work with a big team. I wanted to work in a way that would involve others in my success. Teaching felt like my best bet, so I gave it a go and I’m so happy I did that instead of just pushing through with a corporate design job. I am not saying you should teach (although it has been wonderful for me and there’s always work for sport teachers?!).

    If you visualise you’re dream job, what is the physical space like? What are your colleagues like? What would you enjoy most about your day in this dream job? You don’t need to know the job yet - we’re dreaming happy things!

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