Dear eNotAlone: I'm feeling completely lost and hopeless in my life at the moment. I've just graduated from university but have no idea what I should be doing with myself. I'm worried that I'm not taking advantage of this time and opportunity to figure out what I want to do, or even that I shouldn't bother trying to the point where I almost don't care. That's probably why I haven't looked for a job yet or done anything with my degree. I'm seriously considering not even looking, as I can't work out what would make me happy, or what I would want to be doing.
I feel as if I'm stuck; my friends are all doing something exciting with their lives and achieving amazing things, while I just feel helpless and like nothing I could do would ever amount to anything. I'm scared that I'm wasting my life away if I'm not out there getting some great life-experience. It's not like I can delay things more; it's been months since I finished uni but I still have no idea what I want to do.
I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me about this confusing situation. What should I do? How do I overcome these fears and start finding something I actually want to do?
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It can be incredibly overwhelming when you finish university and it's suddenly time to decide what you want to do with your life. You don't need to have everything figured out right now, and it's perfectly normal to feel scared and lost when thinking about your future. The best thing to do is to start exploring your options and find something that makes you happy.
Start by considering all the possible options available to you. Research the jobs you're interested in, reach out to people in similar roles and talk to them about their experience. If you know anyone who works in the industry you're interested in, ask them questions to get a better understanding of what they do each day. Also, look into internships or volunteer positions - often these are great stepping stones to gain experience and see if an industry is the right fit for you. If you're unsure, jumping into something part-time can help narrow down what path to pursue. keep an open mind and be willing to explore new opportunities and directions that interest you.
It can be intimidating to take the first step and make a decision, so try breaking your goals down into smaller chunks. Ask yourself, "What's the first baby step I need to take in order to move forward?" This could be researching companies you're interested in working for, booking informational interviews, or simply creating a list of your priorities and what kind of environment you'd like to work in. Taking small actions can help you move towards the decision you want to make.
It's also important to remember that you don't need to have it all figured out right away and that it's OK to make mistakes along the way. Everyone's journey is different, so don't compare yourself to other people. As long as you're taking action and doing your best to move forward, you'll eventually find something that makes you feel excited and fulfilled.