I Don’t Know What I’m Doing, But I’m Not Doing Nothing… | Job Seeker Selfies
Written by Niamh MacQuillan
As my second year of university comes to an end and graduation looms, I’m faced with questions like ‘do I enjoy what I’m studying?’, ‘Is there a viable career for me in this area?’ and most daunting ‘what do I actually want to do with my life?’ The last 19 years of my life have felt like a safety blanket. All my focus has surrounded a structured life of routine, studying and friendships.
With fellow peers landing flashy corporate jobs and internships I feel as though I’ve been thrown into a pot of pressures — where adulthood and the unknown looms and I’m already behind.
Human beings are social creatures and with everything shared online comparisons are inevitable. Unfortunately we get caught up questioning ourselves, our life stage and if we’re good enough. We enter a mindset where you’re expected to have it all figured out right away, well guess what? I say… f**k that! Throughout the remainder of this post I’ll share what’s helped me overcome these challenges with the hope others can draw comfort in the fact I still don’t know what I’m doing, BUT I’m not doing nothing.
1. You’re not alone
Firstly, I want to make the point that you’re not alone. Some people know exactly what they want to do with their life, and that’s great, but for most of us, we’re all still figuring it out. Finding something you’re passionate about can be a difficult, anxiety-provoking journey. I want to validate these feelings because they’re real. However, the worst thing you can do in this situation is lock yourself away. I highly suggest talking to others. It will surprise you how many other people feel exactly the same. Interacting with like-minded individuals about your concerns is a great way to relieve your distress. Finding a safe space where you can be real and honest will go a long way in reminding yourself that YOU ARE OK!
2. Tension isn’t always bad — it means you care
When you start asking yourself the thought provoking ‘life’ questions or your peers talk about their grad plans and you start feeling any discomfort, here is my advice. Firstly, acknowledge it’s there. Tensions isn’t always bad it’s a sign you care. Once you come to terms with that and identify the source, you have actionable information. Use those feelings as fire and motivation. It sounds strange but try being comfortable with discomfort. If we supress and avoid the anxiety it only intensifies the problem and hinders our ability to use it to our advantage.
The next few points are ways to help you redirect anxiety to its true purpose: to energise us and prioritise what we care about.
3. Listen and be motivated by Podcasts and TedTalks
One of my new favourite Gen Z trends when I’m in the car or on a walk is to listen to podcasts. Podcasts are more popular than ever, hence they are super easy to access and with a huge variety of catered and insightful talks to listen to why not give it a try? I found podcasts to be a great anxiety and stress reliever. Listening to individuals who shared similar concerns and offered their perspective and advice on the topic was really comforting.
I love podcasts because they just feel more intimate and relatable, where there’s no filter and people are just genuinely sharing their thoughts.
Listening to their real-life experiences and advice energises and inspires me to keep moving forward.
In particular I love…
- The Mindset Mentor: https://open.spotify.com/show/706hylM6zaDW8LrrYxcggQ
- Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain: https://open.spotify.com/show/5VzFvh1JlEhBMS6ZHZ8CNO
- The Calmer You Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/20xVIidgIKNL9rPVLMlRQS
- The Psychology of your 20s: https://open.spotify.com/show/2HGcJRYrjGnpce6bRp8UXm
- Just Go With It: Living Life Post Grad: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/just-go-with-it-living-life-post-grad/id1534705872
4. Just get started!
My philosophy whenever I’m worried about a particular task or goal is to just get started. This can apply when you’re thinking about your future plans. Nothing will come to you when you’re stagnant. Learn to overcome distractions and stop procrastinating. There are endless resources to first understand why we procrastinate and how to conquer it. Listen to this insightful TedTalk on procrastination, which helped me with some great tips on how to overcome feelings of hesitation.
It can be an overwhelming thought of where to apply for jobs or internships, hence we procrastinate. One of the first steps that can get the ball moving can be as simple as updating your CV. A CV is a really important piece of personal marketing, where you can lay out your education, experience, achievement, and skills.
UseVerb is a really helpful website that simplifies this process, by generating a CV in a succinct and effective manner. Once your CV is complete you can start putting yourself out there. I found LinkedIn to be a really useful social channel where I could create a professional profile outlining my goals and values and then start interacting with people and companies on there. This is also how I landed my first internship, where I’ll discuss further in the next point.
An internship is a great way to gain real exposure and experience by working closely in an industry you’re interested in. Internships can also enhance your employability and expand your network. Through LinkedIn I came across an internship opportunity which I am now completing at UseVerb and I’m loving it! it has been a great way to collaborate with a diverse group of people which may be useful to leverage later. I have also found my internship, through the help of my fellow interns, to nurture my self-confidence and excitement for what’s next.
We’re all on our own path, some may be more direct, but where’s the fun in that? Getting to explore hobbies and interests by landing different internships is also a valuable resource to help you figure out what you DON’T want to do. So basically, I’m implying there is no harm is being able to add more experience to your resume and explore potential avenues. Who knows what you might discover?
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope by sharing my experience and advice you’re able to take something away from it. If not, at least you know I’m still figuring it out and who knows when I will, but if anything, I’m not giving up! Neither should you! We got this!
- Niamh 😊