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LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL: Who Actually Knows What They Are Doing?


So Tell Me This...What's Your Five-Year Plan?!?!!

Every once in a while someone will ask me what grade I am in? How it's going? And what I am planning on doing after I graduate high school?

To be honest...I'm not really sure. I have a few possibilities that I have in mind but I am not 100% on anything. I've had lots of adults that have attempted to reassure me and said "it's okay to not know what you want to do in the future", Is it okay? I am actually concerned and that doesn't really help me figure anything out.

When I think about the next five years I see multiple potential plans, they are all completely different. Each of these plans requires me to go in a completely different direction after high school which is what causes my uncertainty, which route is the "right" one.

"This or That"

I haven't decided on a career, which means I can't decide on which post-secondary school I will apply to, just another worrying thought living in the back of my mind, that I am always slightly stressed out about. I think the issue is I believe that these decisions are ones that will determine how the rest of my life goes, that's a lot of pressure. How do I choose one, and know it's the "right" choice. That's probably why I am not able to pick something that I want to pursue, there are too many options.

Another factor that affects my ability to come up with something that I am genuinely excited about after high school, is making money. Everything costs money so, if I decide to go to school and it ends up being something that I really hate, then it seems like I just wasted a ton of money. Then there is the option of taking a gap year, travelling somewhere, experiencing life on my own, I'm sure it would probably be fun but I might also just end up worrying about the time and money that I'm "wasting" or spending it on unnecessary things.

On the other side of things though, I know that I am fortunate enough to have these dilemmas and I should work to do the things that make me happy.

The Art of Managing Difficult Emotions

I think I am beginning to figure out what helps me and what doesn't when it comes to managing the intense emotions I get sometimes. One thing is just being aware that when I am thinking or talking about the future makes me nervous. As soon as I start focusing on how soon it is, I begin to feel like I am running out of time to make a decision, I try and use the skills I have developed and try to stay in the moment, but using new skills is like anything else you just learned, It takes time to master. My thoughts still wander to unhelpful thinking styles like "I just need to know what I am doing right now" or thinking in black and white styles and needing to remind myself I am allowed to change my mind and if COVID has taught us anything its great to have a plan but even more important to build my resiliency for the curveballs of life.

A Few Things I Have Tried To Figure Out a Path For My Future

1. Talk to your guidance counsellor at school

2. Talk to the supportive adults in your life and ask how they figured it out

3. Ask your friends what they might be doing

4. Do a career pathfinder test online, you might be surprised what it reveals

5. Ask yourself "if you had no barriers and could do anything in this world, what would you do?

“Each of us has a dharma, a purpose in life. When we are in dharma, we enjoy and love our work.” Deepak Chopra

I have tried some of these and I'm not sure how much they help me but at least by talking to my friends I am able to get the sense that I am not the only one who is going through this. I also think that this is something that is always subject to change. It's also not as though I can only pick one job for the rest of my life. I am allowed to make a decision and then change my mind.

The goal for me is truly believing this is, it's tough to wrap my mind around and I am working on that.

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