What Does The Future Hold? Life Beyond University

How can we live life to the fullest when the future is so uncertain. Charlotte Lloyd explains how to live the life you’re passionate about without stressing about what’s next. 

For many university students, including myself, life beyond university is a daunting thought. There is a certain apprehension about leaving. I felt this exact same feeling when leaving high school. I don’t know if the same can be said about everyone else, but my high school experience was the best and it just didn’t seem like my time to leave. This is how many students feel when thinking about graduating from university.

We wonder about the what ifs. There are so many paths for us to take and it can feel somewhat overwhelming when we are left wondering what’s next or when we start questioning our choices. Have I taken the right path for myself? Am I really passionate about what I’m studying? Do I even want to work in this field?

The questions are endless and the time spent dwelling on this is inevitably going to lead to stress and second-guessing. But how can we stay positive about life beyond university when we are not really sure what’s next. 

Each and every degree is different. For some, knowing where they want to work and landing a job can make the decision easier. But, for a lot of people, including myself, the jobs are limited and the competition is fierce.

Compromise is a big thing that holds many people back. What if I end up in a job I hate? The ability to have a job would be an amazing experience and a great opportunity, but not compromising your values and passion is equally as important, so it’s hard to navigate the job scene with this in mind.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the last three years is change and growth never comes from a place of comfort. If we all stayed within our comfort zones, there would be no risk, no anticipation, no excitement, and no way to actually feel like we are fully alive and living the way we should be.

There often comes a point where we become too big for the space we’re in. It’s almost like an Alice in Wonderland moment where we realise we’ve done all we can do and it’s time to look for something that will serve us in the future. Will we cling to our comfortability or will we flirt with the possibilities of jumping off the edge and hoping for the best?

Positivity about the future is always a hard concept to get your head around. People say, ‘oh you’ll get this job, or you’ll do this, or you’ll meet someone’, but this is hard to accept when so much is unknown and everyone you meet is on their own timeline.

This article is not meant to give you false hope for the future of your professional life, or finding a job, or that everything will fall into place, because I don’t know how anyone’s life will turn out let alone my own. But, I can guess there will be heartbreak, sadness and anger, but there will also be excitement, fun and love that we will all experience. So why not feel all the feelings without having to analyse each and every inch of what could happen. 

Decisions which feel like a good choice are often an escape from the reality you have to face. This can come in many forms. For me, thinking about working overseas between jobs after university and just getting by while travelling meant leaving university with actual professional plans. Of course, travelling is a big leap I really want to take, but I was using this as a coping mechanism to avoid what I really needed to be doing, and that was thriving in my professional life. 

Each day is a chance to think, what am I going to do with my life in small ways that are not so overwhelming. Having a cup of tea or a hot chocolate, binging your favourite Netflix show, or even ordering your favourite food. These simples bouts of self-care allow you to stay positive for the future while thinking about the present. And you never know, maybe you will book yourself a holiday today, but maybe tomorrow your achievement can be getting out of bed and getting ready for the day.

No matter how big or small the action, any sense of achievement is a way to fall in love with living. Greeting death so we know that we can actually live and live life to the fullest without the overwhelming anxiety of what’s next. Because you can believe in an afterlife if it makes you feel better but knowing that we don’t have forever gives us this anticipation to do what we’ve always wanted without constantly second-guessing ourselves. We need to make sure we follow our intuition because somehow it already knows what we want. 

My mum is a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason and much too often, I would call this a load of you know what. How does she believe that to be true? That every missed opportunity, every missed relationship, that everything puts you on the path to who you are becoming. Thanks to a continual amount of times hearing this, I actually believe it to be true. Nothing that is truly meant for you will ever pass you by, no matter how much you believed in it. 

The future beyond university is completely unknown and with graduation coming up I still have no idea where I will end up. I get asked constantly what I want to do when I finish, and I honestly have no idea, and I’m okay with that.

I could’ve made this article with simple steps to keep positive about the future but it is not a one-track process that works the same for everyone, we all need different mechanisms that get us through each and every day. And knowing we don’t have forever makes each and every day so important that worrying about the future does more damage than good. Living for each day is what keeps us truly alive. 

Feature Image: Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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