While some people have a clear idea of what they want to do with their lives, others have no real idea what they want to do after school or college. You may be looking around to see your friends all happily planning on going to university, start a course, or get their career underway, yet you feel left out, unsure what you want to do with yourself.
Up until now, your life has been planned out for you, from nursery to primary school and so on. However, all of a sudden you are faced with a choice as to what you want to do next. For those with set plans, this can be an exciting opportunity to start working towards your dreams, but for others it can leave them feeling confused and left out.
If you are not sure what to do next it can seem like you are somehow behind everybody else, but you are not alone. Plenty of young people are still undecided about what they want to do next, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and do nothing – or even do something you don’t want to just to be part of the crowd.
There is no getting around the fact that your job is a large part of your life. You will spend hours every week at your workplace, so getting it right is important. Some people find that they don’t really mind what they do for a living, so long as the money is good. However, for others, the money is only as important as the actual role itself, and they could not imagine working at a job they didn’t enjoy.
If you are genuinely stuck for ideas, try to look at the things you enjoy doing as a starting point. If you are good at a particular subject, chances are you will also be good at a job that uses the same skills or knowledge. Specialising in this area is a good starting point, perhaps by doing some further study or an apprenticeship or traineeship in a related area.
However, it is perhaps best to keep an open mind to your next move, rather than getting too specialised too early. If you are going on to further education, try to study a subject that you not only like, but that can be applied to a number of roles. It may also be worth adding some diversity to your studies – perhaps taking a humanity like History alongside your science courses. This will broaden your skills, as well as give you an extra edge when it comes to looking for work.
Speak with your parents, friends, teachers, career advisor, or others to get some advice, but remember that this is your life. So don’t let yourself be pushed into doing something you don’t want to. While you may not yet know exactly what you want to do, you will probably know what you don’t want, so listen to that voice in your head too!
Think in broad strokes, and keep your next move open so that you can still specialise, rather than backing yourself into a corner and end up doing something that is hard to take elsewhere. Many skills are transferable, so look for something that leaves your options open while you decide where exactly you want to go next.