I am only a sophomore, but recently I’ve been feeling the pressure to figure out what I want to do and fast! It seems that everyone is really bearing down on me lately, including my parents and my advisors, who I barely know. The problem is that I just honestly really don’t know what it is that I want to do, and it’s really starting to bother me, especially because everyone else seems really set upon what it is that they’re going to do. Is it normal to feel this stressed out? Or am I really making a big deal over nothing?
Welcome to the pressure cooker side of life. There isn’t a student (besides those friends of ours who term themselves “independently wealthy”) who absolutely has not felt the same way that you do at some point during his or her academic career. Eventually, you’re going to have to support yourself, make some money, eat-you know, somehow manage to pay for the practical necessities that accompany our journeys through this lifetime. And, how you will manage to do that and stay happy at the same time is clearly a worrisome and pressing concern.
Rest assured, however: there is some good news. First of all, you have a lot of time; you are only a sophomore, not a six-year senior. Second of all, you must continually remind yourself when you feel trapped in such a treacherous state of ambiguity that there are plenty of well-nourished 30-year-olds who feel some anxiety over their life paths. Sometimes is it hard to keep it all in perspective and to remind ourselves that the world will keep turning if you don’t go to med school and that you won’t be living on the streets if you don’t want to be a lawyer.
In my quasi-deterministic point of view, you are meant to do what you are meant to do and you have the capacity to fulfill the role in the universe that has been carefully crafted for you. I think that it is important to take life as it comes-prepare for the future, don’t take up a pesky drug habit etc. etc.-but also live each day, each portion of a second in the moment because that moment will never present itself to you ever, ever again. Life is not what we make of it, but rather what we do with the time that has been given to us.
Don’t worry about everyone who says that they’ve got it all figured out because they are just living in denial. It’s far more reassuring to try and place yourself at the center of a structured life plan than it is to just go with the flow because the great majority of us are not quite as adaptable to change as we think we are or should be. It is hard for us to comprehend chaos and the fact that trying to figure it all out is not quite as easy as we have been tempted to believe, but what is when you actually dig down into the heart of it all? In the meantime, take what everyone has to say with a grain of salt and caution, but do take it. Also, stop worrying. You are wasting your life away if you decide to worry and stress.
Best of luck!
Fact o’ the Day.In strict biochemical terms, sex has no different effect on the body than does eating large amounts of chocolate.
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