Whether you’ve just gotten into Uni or you’re just about to graduate, sometimes it can feel like you still have no idea what you want to do. You’re surrounded by people who have a solid career path laid out, and it seems like every person you have ever encountered asks the dreaded question, ‘So, what do you want to do once you graduate?’ It can be terrifying if you don’t have a plan, but don’t worry. You’re not as alone as you think.
First of all… Don’t Panic
This is totally normal. Honestly, more people than you realise are going through the same problem. Even though many students are reluctant to talk about it, perhaps due to pressures or expectations, we are all in the same boat. Even people who know what they want to do change their mind last minute. I’m a second year studying English and I honestly have no clue about my career path. I’m forever being told that English is such a versatile degree but I can’t help thinking, versatile for what exactly? The important thing to realise is that it is totally fine to not have a career path in mind. University is great for the endless work experience opportunities and interview advice, but it is also fantastic for finding out exactly what you love. What is even more fantastic is there is no time scale, and there’s no rush.
Expose Yourself to Opportunities
Exposure is key. Now, I’m not just talking about careers fairs. To find out exactly what you love to do, or the transferable skills you possess, it’s important to try new things and take on brand new challenges. How will you learn about yourself if you don’t dip your toe into the unexpected? Go on, I dare you. Even the smallest and the most random experiences can tell us about the skills we possess, and there’s always the possibility of finding a career path you’d never even considered. You don’t know unless you try!
Talk to Graduates
This is linked to my second piece of advice: talk to as many people about their careers as you can. This can be done informally (perhaps you could ask your personal tutor about how they ended up where they’re at) or formally, perhaps chatting to a key speaker at a careers event you attended. This is an ideal way to see exactly what careers are out there. Sometimes jobs you didn’t even know existed are the right fit for you and your skills. You never know, a random spark of inspiration for a previously unknown career might come your way…
This is probably the scariest piece of advice that I am going to offer you. I don’t know about you but I find the concept of talking to total strangers daunting at the best of times. My best advice would be just take a deep breath and go for it. Graduates expect lots of questions from undergraduates about where their degree got them so they’ve definitely heard it all before. What’s the worst that could happen?
Remember that Change is Absolutely Fine
Finally, it is okay to change. One day you might see yourself as an accountant but the next you might see yourself as a primary school teacher. That is totally fine. Most people never stick to one career path anyway and it is currently incredibly easy to change path at any point in your life. I’m sure we all know someone who has been in a stable path for what seems like forever and then suddenly they’re doing something total random! A degree opens so many doors and that’s why it’s so great. As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, that’s all that matters. The old saying still stands: ‘you won’t work a day in your life if you love what you’re doing’ – right?