For most of our lives we’re told what to do and where to be so why, all of a sudden, are we expected to know what we want to do after high school?

Just in case it wasn’t super obvious already, our society moves fast, often faster than what we can keep up with. The school system however hasn’t really done a whole lot since the industrial age. For those of you playing at home, that’s about 200 years. At school, we’re given instructions to follow all day. Sit down, stop talking, open your books. So, how come one day it all turns around and we’re suddenly expected to know exactly what we want to do once we leave?

The reality is that more school-finishers are struggling to find direction or to take control of their lives. It makes sense when you think about the fact that we’ve always been told what to do/where to go/when to show up. When you’ve been following someone else’s instructions your whole life, it can be tough figuring out a big life plan like your teachers and parents expect you to.

Some people at a young age believe life to be a process of school to university to job to house to marriage to kids. But as we grow up, we realise not everything to be so that straight forward. A future isn’t just produced off of a factory line just like that. Life is messy, and that’s what keeps it worth living. If you ask me, plans are overrated – people make plans all the time and they rarely ever happen as intended.

Your last year at school is a time for preparation, sure, but it’s not the time to box yourself in with plans or ideas that you aren’t whole-heartedly passionate about. Are you ready for a cliché of Disney Channel proportions? Good. You have to find your own path your own way. Simple as that. Yes, there are going to be some tough choices to be made, but remember, you’re a big kid now. It’s time to do it for you.

When I was in Year 12, I made the mistake of caving to the pressure of quickly finding something to do after school early because I was expected to decide on a path asap, so I latched myself onto the first career path that seemed mildly interesting. But when I look back on that time, I wish that I had taken more time to shop around and really grasp what I was truly interested in and cared about even if that meant waiting a a year or two after leaving school to arrive at that discovery.

Regardless of the pressure to decide what you’re doing with your life, take your time. Suss out your options and ignore anyone that says you need to decide right now. You’ve got time (a heap of it) so use it to figure out what you want to do in your own sweet time, not on someone else’s watch.

brad mcdowellchanges

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