These past few weeks I’ve started really worrying about my future—from impending grad school applications, to decisions about what career I’m going to pursue, to choosing what city to live in, lots of big life decisions are coming up. Some of this stress I’ve found to be inspiring, while some I’ve found crippling. So, when is worrying about your future actually a helpful thing?
Be aware of what’s coming.
Over my past couple years at U of T, I’ve always planned my future. But, a lot of my friends didn’t, and I’ve seen this hurt them in lots of ways. I think it’s always a good idea to know roughly what field you want to go into after undergrad, or what grad schools you’re thinking of applying to. This is because you may need to take specific courses to fulfill grad school requirements or get qualifications for jobs. Some of my friends who didn’t think about what they wanted to do ended up having to take extra semesters to make up credits- of course, not a huge deal, but definitely annoying.
I definitely think it’s okay to not know exactly what job you want to go into, but narrowing it down to a couple of fields and being aware of requirements has helped me a lot in the long run!
Understand what interests you.
I’ve also found it helpful to reflect a lot on what interests me in life. For example, I’ve discovered that I’m super interested in the politics of sexuality and race, and am also interested in Indigenous politics in Canada. Knowing I’m interested in these fields has allowed me to narrow what courses I’m taking and also find relevant extracurricular activities.
By focusing on doing something that I’m really passionate about, it’ll be easier to apply to jobs or grad schools in these fields later on, as I’ll have relevant experience and studies.
Don’t freak out about the little details.
That being said, I’ve found myself very stressed about writing grad school apps and deciding exactly what grad school I’m going to go to. I don’t think this stress is very helpful— at the end of the day, it just makes me anxious and discontent in my current situation. Future steps can be very scary, so I think it’s important to make an effort to live in the present moment.
I don’t know where I’m going to go to grad school or what school I’m going to go to, but right now, that’s okay. I’ll be filling out applications in September of this year—and I’ll focus on those applications when they open. For now, I might as well enjoy spending time with friends and taking classes I love.
Being able to both plan my future and enjoy the present moment is a super challenging skill that I’m still in the process of developing. Do you have any tips for doing this?