“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.”
― Sylvia Plath,
If there was anything I could tell my eighteen year old self, it would be this; IT IS OKAY TO FEEL LOST. IT IS OKAY TO NOT KNOW. EVERYTHING (almost everything) HAS A WAY OF FALLING INTO PLACE.
You’re about to appear for your final exams and then starts what they call “The real world” where you’ll leave the school life and become a college student. Everything will change. You won’t have the same friends you went to school with, your body along with your mental state will undergo timely transitions and you’ll find yourself enjoying things you disliked and disliking things you loved. It’s common. It only goes to show you’re evolving.
By now you must have decided on the course you’d study, where you’ll apply or whether you’ll study abroad and all that stuff. But what if you don’t know what you want to do? You still aren’t sure about the subjects you’ve studied or where your strength and weaknesses lie. You hear people throw around words like ‘passion’ or ‘dream’ and you can’t help but question your very existence. What were you made to do?
To be honest, you first have to understand that not all of us are always sure about what we want from life and that’s absolutely fine. (On some days, I can’t even make up my mind about what I want to eat.) There are some who have it all figured out. Kudos, good for them. This doesn’t mean you’re not sincere about having a career or if at all you’ll have one. Life is about exploring yourself and the world around you.
Don’t adopt the ‘herd mentality’ by doing what everyone else is doing. There’s room for all of us. Figuring out what makes you “happy” is the key. If you look forward to a particular subject or you had full attendance in a specific course, it only goes to show your interest in it. It’s important to ascertain the easiness that comes with studying a subject. For instance, if you love memorizing facts you might want to consider studying History or if the human behaviour fascinates you, then psychology is the subject for you. If putting things together and organizing is your forte, Event Management awaits your arrival. (These are just hypothetical examples). What I’m saying is notice when your enthusiasm level accelerates and when the idea of studying a particular subject makes you look forward to studying or even attending class for that matter. This is PASSION to me. Anything that excites or makes me feel confident is passion. You can have passion for multiple things. You might be excellent as a manager but also a competent chef. Best of both worlds? Hell, yeah!
It is, however, not compulsory to enter into academics after school. There’s no hard and fast rule to go the traditional way. Ditch becoming a CA or an Engineer if you don’t want to. Your future self will thank you for taking a smart decision. The dynamic environment has brought about a number of advances in the kind of career you can choose. Gone are the days when commerce and science were the only streams you could select. These days you can earn a living by clicking pictures or even baking for that matter.
All this sounds very doable and exciting but here’s the harsh reality; Most of the time due to unexpected reasons you don’t get to study what you want to no matter how hard you try or you don’t get admission in your dream college. Don’t lose hope. Try to find an alternative. Something that is even a tiny bit similar to what you initially wanted to study. The idea here is to not give up and persevere through your college days by not letting the spark inside of you die. Hard work always pays off. ALWAYS.
(Pro tip: Give your best even if you are not fond of what you’re studying. Good result is a very strong incentive for you to do even better. Been there, done that.)
Remember how you feel at the end of the day, whether you feel satisfied and at peace or you feel like the world around is going to collapse, depends solely upon the decision you take. Being lost helps you unravel aspects of yourself you didn’t know existed. Isn’t it a good thing? So next time you’re feeling lost, believe that you’re being redirected towards something bigger and better.