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6 Reasons Why It’s Okay Not to Know What You Want to Do

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

When final year finally comes, every student is faced with the same mind-boggling conundrums. To apply for ten grad schemes or dedicate your time to actually reading all the set texts and pull off that first? To save up for a year of backpacking around Australia or accept the inevitability that you will blow all your cash on this last chance to get drunk as a monk with your housemates? Time to mentally prepare to move back in with your grudging parents… 

And then there are the rest of us, hiding under the covers with Netflix and cookies, hoping we might somehow be able to secretly get away with staying a student forever. Whichever way you look at it, getting ready to dive headlong into the real world is a scary thing. But if you haven’t written up a life plan yet, don’t panic. Here are 6 reasons why its totally fine not to have everything figured out.

1. Student life is so full on, and what with studying, societies and remembering to stock up on enough loo roll, it can feel as if we’re constantly pulled in ten different directions. If you simply haven’t found the time to sit down and mull over what you want from life, you’re not alone. Luckily these days it’s never too late to sign up for a new course or switch career. You never know – you may change your mind many times while you figure out how to get this adulting thing down. And that will make the journey just that much more exciting.

2. Not everyone loves their subject. It may seem obvious, but when all your friends seem to be applying for master’s degrees, you can find yourself falling into a bit of an existential crisis when you haven’t even started your dissertation. If you’re coming to accept the idea that you’ve fully fallen out of love with the finer details of Mesopotamian sculpture after three years of Archaeology, now is a great chance to refocus. You may think your degree has no real-world value, but all those vague transferable skills the careers advisors keep waffling about are actually the things many employers are most interested in. And the best part – once you figure out how to sell them, you’ll find your degree translates across a huge variety of sectors, from communications and marketing to finance and consulting.

3. They say the one constant in life is change, and this goes for people too. When you were five you dreamt of being a mermaid, then an actress, then an astronaut. If you think about it, you will have considered and tossed out too many career ideas to count by now. This means it’s just fine to run through a few more. If you don’t have a definite plan, think about the fact that many grads only stay in their first job for around two years. That’s less time than it takes to actually get a degree! Finding your place in the world is an ongoing process, and nobody has it all sussed out.

4. This is the time to experiment and take chances. If you’re sick of sitting in the library watching the world go by, why not take next year off to travel? Its easier than ever to go backpacking on a budget, with working holidays up for grabs in countries as diverse as Canada, Japan and Australia. Or you if you don’t fancy a nine-to-five job stuck at the photocopier, you could try volunteering, and do work that’s meaningful to you. Whatever you want to try, now’s the time.

5. Not everyone has a high-flying career plan to work in finance or the dedication to become a nurse. It’s okay to simply find something you’re interested in and make it work for you. Maybe you’re the mum of your friend group, always keeping everyone on track – you could find a managerial position in many companies, from tourism to game design. Figure out what you’re best at, and how to turn it into a role you’ll enjoy.  

6. You have the rest of your life to figure things out. The end of university can feel like looking out across a vast ocean of adulthood, with no map to guide you. While it might be intimidating, its also kind of wonderful. Gone are the days when people stayed stuck in one job for their whole lives – you have the opportunity to try many different things, and sooner or later you’ll find something that sticks. Like with anything, from shoes to boys, you have to experiment a bit before you find what’s right.