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Just Chill- Life Is Not Meant to be Planned

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

Back in high school, I had classmates who “knew” an Ivy League was their destiny. They stocked up on AP classes, joined numerous debate and math clubs, and strived for leadership roles in those very clubs. They hated the work, hated their colleagues, and hated how they didn’t have time for anything. The toll on their mental and physical health was evident, but they would mask it over with “It’ll all be worth it when I get that acceptance letter.” 

Imagine someone working so hard towards a goal, throwing themselves into dreadful programs, powering through sleepless nights, doing everything they DESPISE, only to be met with “Sorry, we saw your dedication, but it just didn’t make the cut.” I’m too scared to imagine it myself, despite going through this mental cycle multiple times.

Back in high school, I made big plans for myself: become the Drum major of my marching band, get a 4.0 GPA, and become the first high schooler to join the state-level honor choir and honor band. I achieved none of those things, and while the constant rejection felt painful, I look back at high school feeling pleased with what I did accomplish. 

Once entering college, I started off with a similar mentality: “Join xyz clubs, get a blank GPA, get into blank grad school.” And just like in high school, I didn’t end up achieving much of what I planned: I achieved better. What made my actual accomplishments better than anything I hoped for was that everything fell into place naturally.

I am a firm believer in destiny that what is meant for you will come to you. I didn’t understand this until I reached the end of my second year in college, where I realized all the extracurriculars I had been selected into, working in, and even obtaining leadership roles for, aligned with my natural talents.

Many times, things in our lives fall into place based on what we need at the moment. For example, many people draft up plans like, “I want to make 6-figures by the time I’m 25, then get married at 27, then have 3 kids by 30,” and when those plans don’t work out, we beat ourselves up or blame the universe. What made me stop believing in such fantasies is realizing I don’t know the kind of person I will be in 10 years, and I most certainly don’t know what life is gonna throw in my path that could change the course of things. Hoping, dreaming, and getting too emotionally attached to what is so unclear is a waste of energy: instead, we should be directing that energy towards what is in front of us. 

Once I understood that I was spending too much time stressing about my future 5+ years away, I halted and started directing my efforts toward the here and now. Once a person fulfills their current responsibilities, it’s easy to say the long-term will fall into place on its own. There is no way I can control who I’ll marry, how many kids I’ll have, or what grad school I’ll end up in, but as a college student, I have a duty to my schoolwork and making use of available career resources. 

It’s difficult to strike a balance between setting milestones and letting life flow as it may. It’s always important to consider what the future may hold, but it is far more important to see what can be done in the present. A person’s life is only as successful as how often they take advantage of opportunities.

Gayathri is a third-year Biotechnology major and director of the UCD Her Campus Digital Media team. She loves to write, work out, sing, and sleep (college students need more of that nowadays). When not indulging in her boba addiction, she likes to wind down by watching hilarious Youtube vids with a hot cup of tea.