What are you doing with your life?

25 Jan


I think it’s time that we had a serious talk…about life.

It seems to me that the biggest unanswered question university students have is:

What am I going to do with my life?

Sure, you might know what you’re going to school for, or what degree you’re working towards…but it’s incredibly difficult to pinpoint exactly the career that you will have post-grad.

Of course, there may be exceptions.

You might have been that person that fell off your bike, ended up in the emergency room with a broken arm, and then suddenly known that you were destined to be a doctor.

But I don’t think that these kinds of epiphanies happen too often.

I am doubtful that one day I will have a moment of total clarity where I will just suddenly understand my life’s purpose.

I don’t think that our “one true calling” really exists.

And I don’t want it to.

I want there to be variations to my calling.

I want to have new passions, new loves, and explore different opportunities.

I want to experience the gradients of gray between the bright, promising white of university and the stark black of a monotonous career.

The problem with this though, is that a lot of people really expect you to have ONE idea, ONE goal, and ONE future.

My parents, who are paying for my education, certainly expect me to know what I intend to do with my life…like, now.

But who decided that a little uncertainty was bad for you?

If being in university has taught me one thing, it’s how much I value learning about new things across different areas of study.

Sure, I had a set picture in my head in high school of what I wanted to do with my life.

And I carried this image with me into university because you just don’t invest in something that you’re unsure about.

But it’s important to take a step back and stop looking at yourself as if you’re in this little box with set limits and boundaries.

Experimentation is how you will figure out what to do with your life.

How do I know?

Well, I’ve been hit in the face with a lot of examples lately.

I had the pleasure today to listen to a guest lecturer named Will Novosedlik speak about his work helping companies build their brand.

He talked about how he discovered that, after 10 years, he didn’t like the idea that the companies he was working with were making promises to consumers that they didn’t really uphold. It was eating away at him.

So he took a step back, and started to write about his frustrations. He soon got himself a column in The National Post and found that simply expressing himself made him feel refreshed and ready to undertake new projects.

The best part? There was no “aha” moment in his story. He went through variations of a career, and ended up feeling better and more satisfied.

And he’s not the only one that’s experienced a change of plans.

I had one prof that told us how she hated linguistics in university. Then, years later, she rediscovered a passion for the subject and is now teaching it to students like me.

I met a psychology prof that admitted she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life in university…(apparently, they threaten to kick you out if you’re in the end of your third year and still haven’t declared a major).

Even my mom and dad have changed jobs in the last few years in favour of something new and different.

My older brother is right in the middle of what I would consider one of the most terrifying transition stages life has to offer: that uncertain period between graduating university and finding a job.

As you can see, the evidence is all around me.

It’s impossible to know what you’re going to be when you’re done school because no one can predict the future.

The best that you can do is to have goals and work towards them.

But it’s important to remember and expect your ideas to change.

Opportunities come up, we meet people with connections and ideas, and we make decisions that we could never predict making any earlier than the moment when we make them.

Conclusion: Life is complicated. Embrace it.

But if what I’m saying doesn’t convince you, well maybe you’ll listen to one of my favourite authors, John Green. He talks about college and life post-grad in his video blogs. Check them out; he’s hilarious:

And, if you’re at all interested in marketing, branding, or the business world, you can find Will Novosedlik’s blog here; he’s a great writer:



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