Advice

Finding my feet: how to find out who you truly are before leaving uni

In her final year at university, Natasha Manahor discusses pressures for the future and finding herself in the midst of it all

In some ways, I think we’re all a little like Peter Pan…not wanting to grow up and accept adult responsibilities, and to just have fun really. But with the pressure of uni work, cooking, cleaning, and committing to Crisis AGAIN,  it is really easy to lose yourself.

I think this is where we need to pause for a little reality check. Uni work is an essential, but so is having fun and going out, but surely that isn’t your entire being or character, there is more to you than that. I was speaking to my friend, when she suddenly said: “I want to do something more than just work, I want to know what I’m doing with my life.”

“Being in third year is scary because you feel as though having a job after graduation is THE end goal”

I completely agree. Being in third year is scary because you feel as though having a job after graduation is THE end goal. But it’s not. Speaking to our careers advisors, I found out that only a small percentage of people actually get grad schemes after they graduate, and the majority either take a year out or get a job. Now, I know what the next question is… ‘What do I do in a gap year, isn‘t that a waste of time?, do I need to get a job for the sake of having a job?’ the answer, in my opinion, is no. I think the best way to know what you want to do with yourself and your life, is by putting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying something new, whether that be work related or pleasure, both are so helpful for you!

I tried Taekwondo myself last week and found I was pretty good at it; I boosted my confidence by going and seeing a group of people I didn’t know but in the end, decided I didn’t want to commit to it and that is okay. But nothing negative came from that experience. If anything, I found out more about me. So trying out different things and putting yourself out there, may be that small step to get you to understand more about where your limits and strengths lie.

“it all seems impossible and something to live up to, right?”

But then, you have that pressure of everyone else. Seeing those people who constantly post pictures of how they’ve got that internship, but still end up going to bars every week and brunch on the weekend all whilst doing their degree—it all seems impossible and something to live up to, right?

Wrong.

This is not how everyone is living. Okay yes, those people are doing those things, having fun, buying new clothes, but that isn’t the entire essence of their being. What we don’t see is how those people struggle to factor this social life into their schedule with all these other commitments going on or whether that brunch was a reward for a good week of work—we just don’t know, and my point is, stop comparing yourself to others. It’s all about balance, my friend.

“Have work time, have play time, you time and social time”

Get yourself a planner, a calendar, and factor this all in. Have work time, have play time, you time and social time. Factor in something new to do every week, whether that be a new place to go with your friends, a new society to join, new food to cook, do it! It’s all these little things that will help you define yourself.

I think being self-conscious is inevitable but why live your life through the eye of everyone else? The other day I decided not to wear any makeup and wore a comfy (and a rather questionable) outfit. I missed 3 buses on the way to uni, forgot my notes for my seminar, and just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, guess who I see?… my ex, sitting opposite me in the library. Of course alarm bells were ringing because I was so concerned about how I look and what he’d think. But then I thought to myself, looking like this does not in any way take away from all the things I’ve been doing and the accomplishments I’ve made and the same goes for him. So, I decided not to worry about what he was doing or was thinking and got on with my work, and I’m telling you, I’ve never felt so fulfilled.

“When you can see what you like, what you want and how you’re going to get there right in front of you, you won’t care about what anyone else is doing, or what to do in the future”

This is the exact focus we need—ourselves, not what others are thinking or doing, it all starts with you. Take a step back, look at yourself and your accomplishments and be proud. Then, make a list of what interests you, both career and pleasure wise, and from that create and choose your goals. When you can see what you like, what you want and how you’re going to get there right in front of you, you won’t care about what anyone else is doing, or what to do in the future.

My point is, if you don’t actively DO anything, you won’t get anywhere. So get up, get out, and experience, as that’s how you’re going to find your feet.

Natasha Manohar

Featured image courtesy of Aidan Jones via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. Image license found here.

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