The future is friendlier than you think

It’s okay to be uncertain about your future—everyone is

Plans can change, and that’s okay. 
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Wandering the unknown has always been an intimidating, frightening concept. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life when I was in grade 12—my whole ten-year plan laid out in a binder. Life seemed so easy, and success was in my reach. What they don’t teach you in school is that to fail is to succeed.

Two months ago, I threw that entire career path out the window because I knew it wasn’t what I was passionate about. I want to help people, but after three years of undergrad, I learned there are a thousand careers out there that yield similar fulfillment.

When I first discarded my original plan, I felt lost, but more than that, I felt embarrassed. I felt like I had let down those who thought I was smart enough to succeed. I was shy at first, but eventually I opened up to friends, teachers, neighbours, and even strangers, only to find almost all of us don’t know what we’re doing yet, and I wasn’t alone.

It’s okay to not have all the answers at age 18 or 22—or any age, really.

For those of you who are uncertain about what your future holds, I find it helps to think about what fulfills you and in what field you want to seek that fulfillment.

For example, if you love helping people but you also have a passion for graphic design or marketing, you could create graphics for companies that help people, so you help them reach a bigger audience with graphics that are more accessible.

If you value education and have a passion for rebuilding the education system, you could work for a faculty at Queen’s so you can build new programs, courses, initiatives or improve pre-existing ones.

I recommend having conversations with people in those positions or even interning there if possible, so you have a deeper understanding of what those jobs entail.

You could also consider where you may want to live; this could help narrow down the possibilities too.

If you don’t have all the answers, that’s not your fault either. Our education system fails to teach us and expose us to all the possible career options out there. There are so many people within any given organization that help make the wheels turn and get paid well for doing it.

There should be more resources and networking opportunities so students can learn about new jobs and what they entail, as well as hear more about their stories and how they got to those positions.

Some people spend their whole lives planning to be a lawyer, only to wake up and find that they have a knack for marketing and suddenly they’re switching careers in their 40s. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s okay to be uncertain about your future. Everyone’s life changes and alters at different time periods; there’s not one set course. Be patient, take your time, and be proud of yourself for where you are in your life now. Trust the process and yourself, and you’ll end up where you need to be.

The future is friendlier than you think.

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