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I'll admit, I was completely lost when I realized I was done with university. Yes, it was an exciting time, because hey, I'm out of high school. But, it was actually really scary. I was one of those students who thought I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but I kept second guessing myself. It also didn't help where I had parents who kept drilling the idea of going to university - and, only university - right after I graduated from high school. For me, my life was pretty much planned for me since I was little and I had no control..
Looking back, I wish I could have done things differently. And, this is what I honestly tell others when they come to me for advice; whether it would be what university they should apply for, or if they should take a break from school, or what career path they should be looking into. It is difficult to go through life not knowing what will happen next, but I think it is great that theres always someone out there to help.
1. Do What You Enjoy.
This advice is based from personal experience. For my whole life, I was told that I wanted to be a doctor. Growing up, and doing all the science-y courses in high school, I realized the medical field was not my thing. And, with not having the grades along with not enjoying myself, I found myself getting discouraged a lot.
My advice to you is that, this is your life, and you need to pick a career path, or pick anything in life that you will enjoy. It will be you in 20 years with this job, not your parents. So, really think about what you would enjoy doing for about 8-9 hours of your day, everyday.
2. Do not rush a decision - Take a break.
This is something I find myself telling some of my younger cousins, or younger friends when I find that they are confused or have absolutely no idea about what's next. Let me tell you something I've never heard... It is okay to take a break from school, if needed. There shouldn't be this whole idea that "you need to go to college/university right after high school", and there is definitely no need "to finish university in 4 years".
These are just myths, and honestly... I personally found it best when I go through school at my own, doable and manageable pace.
Take a break, get an internship in different areas of interest. You might end up in a field you had no idea you enjoyed, then BAM. You know your next move.
3. College/University isn't for everyone.
In fact, a very close personal friend of mine is now realizing she wasted her last three years in university. She realized that university wasn't for her, and now she will be restarting her life in college. I really do wish she would just take a break and figure out what she wants before she feels like she's wasting her time again..
If you weren't someone who enjoyed the learning from books, and memorizing for tests, chances are university might not be for you... Instead, you might be more into trades where there is a lot more hands-on experience as well. But, this is for you to figure out.. you can't have anyone tell you what you want to do with your life.
4. It is okay to not know what you want.
This is something I've learnt a little too late. It is okay to not know what you want to major in school, or what you want as a career. No one is expecting you to have your life together and set for the next 20-30 years of your life. You're only 18 years old. Enjoy your youth, because sooner or later, you'll be a grown-up and realize paying bills is not a fun thing to do.
5. Keep your friends close; but, don't be afraid to make new ones.
When entering university or college, especially with friends, please don't be afraid and branch out to make your social group bigger! I know it may be harder to make friends when you have your old friends clinging onto your arms, but in those 1 or 2 classes that you don't have with your friends, talk to someone new. It will not hurt make a few friends in the long run - especially with those who will most likely end up doing the same majors as you.
But, at the same time, don't be rude and push away your old friends. It is good to have different social company for different social events. It puts you out there in different crowds, getting to know different people. And, lets face it... we live in a world where it is not always what what you know, but about who you know.