Okay, so I want to talk to you about finding yourself and deciding what to do in this next stage of your life. I remember exactly what it felt like to be a senior, stressing over college and everything that came with it. About this time of my senior year (January), I had just graduated a semester early with no plan for the rest of my life.
It seemed like everyone else had chosen a major, committed to a school, and basically decided their entire future. I still had no idea what I was going to do. No clue. And I had a half a year off to decide.
I am a huge procrastinator, especially when I don't know how to deal with something. I hadn't applied for any schools, I hadn't applied for financial aid, I hadn't decided on anything. I wished I could just be a free spirit about my future and just go with it, but instead I felt this immense pressure. The pressure is insane, right?
If you're like me, you get ridiculously stressed out by school, homework and deadlines. Everyone around you is telling you that college is your only option. I'm going to tell you that it's not.
I'm not putting college education down in any way. There are many valuable life lessons and professional reasons to go to a good college. Not to mention if you have financial support from your parents or scholarships. But if you are making this decision alone, and it's a financial decision for you, and especially especially if school makes you anxious and depressed, school's not your only option.
So here I was, no clue what I was doing with my life, working almost full-time in retail. I was making enough money to survive, but not for the long-term. It hit me that I had to decide this semester what I was going to do. I went to work every single day that month, and I just thought and thought about what I wanted to be.
I'll tell you what my logic was. Basically, I was imagining myself going to college and choosing a career. I thought I might enjoy being some sort of psychologist or therapist. None of them seemed right to me. I was told that you can't make that much money with a psychology degree, especially in proportion to the amount that you're paying to go to school. In fact, you can make the same amount of money by landing an okay job that doesn't require a degree.
I knew I wanted to do something bigger than any of these professions.
I thought & I thought & I thought, and I remember the day I discovered my huge dream. It felt amazing. Everything changed. Suddenly, I had a purpose. I realized what I really wanted to do was reach as many people as I could- motivating and inspiring them. I realized I could look up to Oprah, who took a totally non-conventional career path and paved the way for self help talk shows. She doesn't have a degree in psychology. She went to school majoring in communications, and look at her now. She reaches more people than any psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist can.
From that moment on, I had a compass leading me through my life. No matter what job I chose, I could decide whether it helped achieve my ultimate goal.
My message to you is that if you're going through the motions of going to school, you need to take a step back and think about your life as a whole. Think about if you want to have a family, think about how much money you want to make (double it if you are having a family), and think about what you really want to accomplish before you leave this world. If you could do one thing, what would it be?
If you can think about it on a big scale, then you can decide whether the smaller paths are going to lead you to your big goals. Every successful person will tell you that goals are how you stay oriented in life. They need to be the biggest, most long-term goals you can think of.
What were you meant to do in this world?
For me, photography is the most amazing step towards my bigger goal. It allows me to reach a lot of people, and I can sustain myself and make money as I grow. Because I thought so far out, I know that I'm on the right track. Even though this is not my exact idea of what I wanted to do.
If you really can't decide your life, go out and explore the world. Take a year off and travel. Don't party your time away, don't waste your valuable young years, but go out and have experiences and learn about yourself. When you revisit yourself in a year and see how far you've come, I'm sure you can find something to make of your life.
xo Safina, Fringe Photography