By Aneeka Sandhu, March 9 2017 —
One of the most troubling feelings young people encounter is not having a sense of purpose and direction. Not knowing what they want to study, what career they want to pursue or who they want to be takes a heavy toll on students’ emotional health. Being surrounded by peers who already have their future mapped out can make students feel defeated, like they’re a step behind everyone. This can cause students to fall behind in school and work and to isolate themselves out of a social life.
Entering university with a specific career or academic path in mind and following through is unrealistic for many students. Transitioning from high school, where students had to ask a teacher to go to the washroom, to an academic environment with little guidance and support is extremely difficult. It’s easy to feel discouraged when people around you are advancing faster than you at a given point in time. It’s difficult to avoid comparisons when social media has made it easy for people to share their accomplishments constantly while you may be waiting for a highlight to come along.
It’s important to remember the adage, “You can’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20.” But that’s definitely easier said than done.
The best way to overcome this dread is to take joy in little pleasures in life that are separate from your academic life. Small things like your favourite tea in the morning, going for lunch with friends, quality Netflix time at night or indulging in your favourite comfort food after a long day. Try not to let anxiety about future stop you from enjoying in the present.
Enjoying the small things can often make the big picture seem a lot more appealing. Somewhere along the way, you may happen to stumble across your own path in life without even realizing it.