Don’t have a life plan? Relax!

emilymartin

If you’re a senior in high school, it’s very possible that you have no idea what you want to do with your life. And that’s fine. If you do have an idea, that’s fine too — but just know that your plan will probably change by the time you graduate college.

When I was in high school, I had a very clear plan for what I wanted to do in and after college. That plan hasn’t changed dramatically, but it has shifted. I wasn’t in college for long before I realized that my original plan wasn’t really that focused — I just convinced myself it was because I was terrified of not having any plan.

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone and there’s no reason to stress. First, because you have until the end of your sophomore year — that’s two whole years! — before you have to declare a major at Transylvania.

And the second reason you shouldn’t stress is because your major might not end up making as big a difference as you think.

Check out this Wall Street Journal article my friend Mike sent me the other day. Just reading it made me feel much better about not having a super-clear life plan.

The main reason we (and our parents) care so much about our college choice and academic major is because we want a job after we graduate, right? So we think we need to major in something “practical” or really specific.

But what if those things just don’t interest you? If you’re thinking about majoring in something that falls under the Humanities or Fine Arts categories (here’s a link to the list of our academic divisions), then you’ve probably already been asked, “What are you going to do with that?” Get used to it, because people haven’t stopped asking me.

The good news is, according to this article, these broader-seeming degrees are often more useful because the skills you develop are transferable between all kinds of careers. So if your initial life plan doesn’t work out or you change your mind, no worries!

And of course, this isn’t to say that if you are interested in majoring in something specific then you’re wrong. Because of course not! I don’t know what jobs are going to be available when I graduate, either. So we both just need to focus on what we’re passionate about — we have the rest of our lives to land our dream jobs.

I’m not going to lie, typing that last sentence felt strange because I have never been one that felt comfortable with “winging it.” I like to have a plan, organize it, and stick to it. But I think I’ve learned in the last year or so that it’s okay to not know your plan’s final result.

Maybe plan is too strong a word. Maybe it’s helpful to have a life path — a general direction you want to head in — but you don’t need a set map for how to get there. Because it’s probably going to change along the way. There will be some detours and maybe some shortcuts.

But that’s okay! As long as you are satisfied with the results and motivated to continue, there’s no wrong direction to take.

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