How can I get to where I want to be? It’s a seemingly simple question on the surface, but one that most of us struggle to answer on a regular basis. University is arguably one of the most transformative time periods in a young person’s life, and quarter-life revelations are natural occurrences. Whether you have just entered the world of growing up, or are stepping into your student shoes for that last time, asking yourself this question will be both inevitable and essential. I don’t have all of the answers, and neither will you, but rest assured that there is comfort in struggling together. So, here we go!
1. Examine where you are… in terms of education, extracurricular involvement, and social life. These will be the three main components of any and every university experience. Each one is extremely vital when it comes to self-growth—which should be the focus of your experience—but will appear at different times. For example, the importance of being involved with projects and clubs on campus might not dawn on you until you’re entering your 3rd year, thinking about grad school, and consequently freaking out. That’s okay! By that point, you’ve presumably established a great support system and are getting the hang of the whole education/success thing. And if not, that’s still okay! Not everything will fall perfectly into place at the same time, so be patient and accept each challenge as it presents itself to you. Before you can set goals for yourself and move forward, however, you have to understand why you are where you are, and how you want to progress from that point.
2. Explore where you want to be. Are you set on being recruited for a full time position fresh out of your degree? Or are you trying to organize a post-grad travelling experience with some close friends in hopes of an enlightening cultural experience? Whatever the case may be, it’s important to start thinking both short and long term. There is nothing more valuable than visualizing a dream for yourself; it’s the only way to drive forward through the muddy obstacles that we will all inevitably face. Whatever you do, don’t restrict yourself in your dreams. Exploring different ideas that interest you will get your creative juices flowing, and determination will quickly follow. Whether it’s an idea that is 100% feasible or seems completely out of reach, it’s worth the thought process. As Christopher Reeve once said, “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” So, get dreaming!
3. Start designing your pathway to success. Dreams only work if you do. A sometimes harsh reality that most of us don’t realize until it’s too late, is that from university onward, every single one of your actions is a progression towards where you’re going to end up. There is a wonderfully exciting path set out for each of us, I promise! Unfortunately, we stray from this path too often and too easily. When distractions present themselves, be it via personal relationships or self-doubt, pause for a minute to reflect. Ask yourself how this situation or feeling will impact you in one year, and then in 5 years. You’ll begin to realize that the only things worth focusing your time and energy on are those that aid you in growing and improving yourself. Everything else becomes temporary. The most important aspect of getting to where you want to be lies in taking a step back, evaluating your future plans, and adjusting your present decisions accordingly.
There you have it! A synopsis of changes that will guide you down your rightful future path. It starts here and now though, while you’re young and have the whole world ahead of you. Stop letting time pass you by. Start dreaming and take hold of your future. You’re the one in charge of it, after all.