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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 UWindsor chapter.

As University students, we are at such a strange point in our lives at such a strange time in the Earth’s life. Being in your early 20s is bizarre because while you may be in school, your buddy from high school is off at the other side of the country working full-time in a mine or an oil rig. You probably know of somebody else who is interning at their family business with intentions to inherit it one day. There is that friend from English class who is happily married and has just announced the arrival of their second child. It’s hard to compare where you’re at with others.

Even when looking at classmates it can be difficult to not compare. You hear of the 2nd-year student that has all their credits to graduate. There’s also the one who has a good paying job waiting for them once they graduate. Others have been accepted into their dream PhD programs or medical schools on full scholarships. They all just seem more ahead of you.

Social media makes the FOMO so much worse. It would be awesome to work as a content creator in a beautiful high-rise apartment complex in the middle of New York. Or a travel vlogger who is paid to talk about the free luxurious vacations they’re on.

Recently, my life has just been plan after plan so that I can play “catch up” with everyone else. What am I catching up to? Couldn’t tell you, but I need to catch up. I’m sitting at a crossroad with 15 different paths and all I’m focusing on is which one will take the least amount of time. I have just been engulfed in the idea that I must move ahead and I must do it fast. It also doesn’t help that I’m a stubborn person. I don’t like to make “mistakes” and I always try to succeed the first time around. Now, imagine my surprise when one of the most attentive and gracious people I have ever met told me four simple, yet effective, words.

The timeline doesn’t exist.

Some people go to University at 17, others get there at 40. There isn’t a rule stating you must finish by the time you turn 22. You go when you can, and finish when you can; it doesn’t need to be only four years. If you don’t want to finish at all, then don’t, try out something else. You could find two people who are the same age but at different stages in their life. It doesn’t matter though ,does it? The important part is they are taking the steps in the order they need to so they can get where they want to be. There shouldn’t be a clock telling them to get to their goal by a certain time, they’ll get there when they get there.

I’m not sure why I had never thought of that before. I think I was already aware but it’s just one of those things that you need someone to tell you or it won’t click. Since hearing those words, they quickly became my new life motto. Whenever I get the chance, I try to share those words with others, like how I was told these words when I needed them the most.

In case you need to hear it again. The timeline doesn’t exist. Switch majors, take that extra year, apply to that dream program, and drop out to pursue that career if that’s what you want. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get to your goal. Stumble? Brush the dirt off of yourself, grab the reins, and get the horse back on the path. One day, when you’re at your goal, you won’t be upset that it took you an extra 12 months, you’ll just be happy that you got there.

Liv Brannagan

UWindsor '24

Hi I'm Liv! I am currently studying Forensic Science at the University of Windsor. I love being outside, going on hikes, kayaking, rowing, and goodness I could just go on and on. I am often listening to music, listening to a good podcast, watching a film, or talking (arguing) about any one of those!