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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

For those who might be worried or feeling like they’re alone in some of the struggles we face balancing work, student, and social life, this series is for you! I’ve already written about what you’ll gain in your twenties and what you’ll lose in your twenties to give some big-sister guidance on what it’s really like being in your twenties. Here’s a how-to on how to pick your career.

introduction to adulting

The stress that comes with being an adult is important to discuss. Sure you might not have some of the same responsibilities as someone who’s in their 30s, 40s or 50s… but every twenty-year-old experiences fear and worry revolving around their career life, and said fear can sometimes be debilitating. This is especially true if they are working a part-time job while going to school full-time in a program they aren’t 100% sure they like or want to be in! Questions like “What do you want to do once you graduate?” and “What are your plans?” are just a few examples of questions they’ll be asked. With that, too, comes comparing your life to others and feeling like you’re behind in figuring out what you want your life to look like in the next year, 5 years, or 10 years.

To help you navigate the uncertainty that comes with striving for success when you feel like you’re not where you want to be yet, here are a few questions you might not have thought of yet that may just be what you need to gain clarity on your next steps as an adult.

What are you looking for?

It’s important to get clear on what you’re looking for out of a job, because if you aren’t clear on that then you’ll just be aimlessly trying to figure out where you fit. So, ask yourself what you’re looking for when it comes to having a career. Is it a flexible work schedule? Or maybe it requires you to be working outside and all over the world rather than cooped up in an office setting? Whatever it is, become clear on it by writing a list of what exactly your boundaries are when it comes to your work life and career path. In this way, when it feels right for you to go on a job hunt, you’ll have a good idea of what you do and don’t want! Place a job into your life—not the other way around.

where are you Now? where would you rather be? And Why?

This seems like more of a journal prompt to gain clarity on your mental state and self-image, but I assure you that answering the above questions will tell you three things: your priorities, what you’re striving for, and what you feel you’re lacking. By knowing all three of those things, you’ll be able to pinpoint where you are, and most importantly, where you want to be when you think about your dream career and work/life balance. Be mindful and grateful with where you are and hopeful that where you want to be will happen!

To Conclude: Eliminate “lack” & Feeling “Behind”

When you decide on what career to embark on, remember these two words. “Lack” and “behind” have negative connotations to them and usually stem from a place of feeling insecure, confused or not good enough. Just remember that when you see people your age in “better” places in their lives than you, you are exactly where you need to be and shouldn’t feel rushed to make sense of your dream career or anything else of importance in your life today. In fact, good things take time! So, be patient and your time will come soon enough.

Emily Crandall

U Ottawa '24

4th-year Communications and Sociology student at the University of Ottawa.