image of notes on a desk in class

The third week of third year and my impeding existential crisis

image of notes on a desk in class Three weeks into third year and I’m already met with confusion. I’ve realized that I’m not one of those students who sets their mind on one goal and drops everything to pursue it. When applying for universities and choosing programs, the common wisdom offered by teachers and guidance counsellors is to do what you’re passionate about. That is a huge burden to place on students in their late teens to early twenties who haven’t so much as paid for their own food before. When you have dozens of interests that border passions, and are relatively good at most of them, it becomes difficult to focus on a singular thing. Soon enough I will be graduating, starting at the bottom in a gargantuan professional world. With little exposure to the harsh reality associated with being out of school, I fear that I am making my decisions on a series of baseless assumptions. What do any of us know anyway? Jumping from high school to undergrad I have been suspended in a vacuum of academia. There’s a filter between the outside world and the University of Toronto. So as a student, I am in an environment that is conducive to my learning of theoretical topics while simultaneously being shielded from real-world factors that will kick in as soon as I graduate.
"Is it worth it?" written on a blackboard in a classroom in Sidney Smith Hall
an important question posed in SS1070
That being said, I don’t believe that being a university student leaves me completely clueless. I have become an expert in accepting rejection, actively pursuing opportunities, and doing grunt work up front for a long-term benefit. Learning from my failures is an integral part of finding my way towards success. Ground-breaking, right (note the sarcasm)? So what am I going to do? As I enter third year I feel like I have to consider my career more seriously. My activities should be targeted towards an end goal. The issue is that I still am unclear about what that end goal is. I guess the best move is to continue doing what I like and hope that something falls in place? Alternatively I could aggressively research possible careers, entry points, and networking opportunities to get a firmer grasp on what life after graduation will be. Perhaps I will pursue the most familiar route and run into the safe arms of grad school. All I know for sure is that I have to get my stuff together fast.

2 comments on “The third week of third year and my impeding existential crisis

  1. I feel you.. My ROP prof told me to google job prospects ASAP and start seeing what I need to do now and what courses I should tailor my degree towards for what I want to do later in life as a full time job

  2. I’ve been in the same boat as you since third year as well. This feeling of “omg, what am I supposed to do with my life?” can be hard to shake sometimes, but hey, at least we aren’t the only ones who feel this way! I too cannot just drop everything in my life for a single topic. There’s too many things out there to interact with and be curious about. For the longest time, I felt like I needed to enroll in grad school immediately, but now I’m realizing that I can go to college to get more hands-on, applied experience if I want to get away from all the theory for a while. Maybe you’d be into that too?

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