The majority of career advisors in Australia work part-time, which probably doesn’t help the whole ‘smooth transition from school into a proper career’ thing. According to our research, only 26% of you turn to them for advice. But it’s no wonder, how the heck would they have enough time to get to everyone?

I’ve been out of school for 6 years now. I did the degree thing, the work full time thing, the gap year thing, the travel thing, the live on Centrelink thing. I’ve lived in 6 share houses (and I’m no where near close to owning one). Now I’m in one of those Big Proper Adult Jobs in a field unrelated to what I studied at uni. Here are 5 pep talks I wish my career advisor gave me:

1. You’re probably never going to know what you actually want to do

I mean sure, you will find things you like doing and want to do for a long time, but there will always be a sense of dissatisfaction, of wondering ‘what if’. For many people that feeling will never, ever go away. We will always be yearning for something more. That is okay – it’s a part of life! You go through stages of being content and stages of being completely restless. Adults are just lost teenagers in wrinkly bodies. Don’t put so much pressure on the career of future you. Work out the career of present you who is young and boisterous and passionate.

2. There are so many ways to get where you want to be

There are so many ways to get from A to B. There are private colleges, TAFEs, universities, internships and straight up employment. Sometimes where you want to be requires a gap year or two so you can actually figure it out. If the ATAR is stressing you out and you can’t cope, here are a list of unis that don’t require an ATAR but offer the course you want to study. If you want to be a carpenter, here are a bunch of companies that are looking for people like you right now and hey, are you interested in a school-based apprenticeship?

3. There is no rush

You’re a teenager for God’s sake. Chill out and don’t feel like you need to make some crazy decision about the rest of your life right now. Nothing is binding. You are only confined to the box you put yourself in. If you don’t know what you want to do that is perfectly normal. Find a job and talk to interesting people and read books about inspirational things. It will come to you, but it doesn’t need to be now. Life isn’t a curriculum with syllabus points you need to tick and master. There is no set schedule. There is no checklist determined by some Board of Life or something. Write your own damn list.

4. Your ATAR does not define you

So you screw up your ATAR? SO WHAT? Tell me what this changes please, in the long run? Nobody is going to remember your ATAR when you die, people are going to remember what you made of your life. If a shit ATAR means changing your uni preferences that’s actually chill – there are plenty who will accept you anyway and if not, you can enter university as a ‘mature aged’ student at 21 anyway. That is still YOUNG. Go and have a few years of fun dammit, you’ve only got one life.

5. ‘Commitment’ is overrated

If you don’t like your degree, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit it. Don’t be a fool and leave yourself with nothing, always make sure you’re moving from one thing to another… but have fun and play. The concept of ‘commitment’ is bullshit if you hate what you’re doing. We’re told not to ‘commit’ to an unhealthy relationship that damages our self-esteem and mental health, so don’t feel pressured to ‘commit’ to something that evokes the same feelings- whether it’s a degree, a job, a career plan or a relationship. Work hard, push through the challenges, but don’t hurt your mind. That goes for Year 12, too.

photo cred: tropic-vision

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