Future got you freaking out?

For many of us students, the concept of “real life” and what to do after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier gives us the chills. Leaving University can be one of the most stressful times of a student’s journey.

Not only do students worry about the lagging economy but the hundreds of choices and career routes to choose from can be very overwhelming.

“There are so many potential career choices which adds tons of pressure,” said Laurier student Amanda Walsh.

These obstacles leave students with additional burdens on top of their major romantic, monetary and work decisions. Listed below are some suggestions to decrease the common anxieties found in students’ lives.

Freak-Out #1: “What career choices should I make after school?”

In University, students often stress that the decision they make right after graduation will determine what role they will be playing in society for the rest of their lives. In reality, individuals face many twists and turns that eventually guide them to their destiny. Students must realize that there is a time to explore various career journeys and that we are at a place in our lives where we have this opportunity without tons of obligations. It’s rare that individuals will stay in the same field as their first role when they started on their career journey so remind yourself that some jobs are not a lifetime commitment but just a pathway to find out what you really enjoy – and don’t enjoy – doing.

The key is to follow what you love. Usually if you really love something you’ll naturally excel in that field. Therefore, narrow down your passions in life (even if it’s not your academic major) and write them down on a list. Research roles in those fields of interest and write down possible employers.

Use networking and contacts to the best of your ability. Networking is the key to getting your foot in the door. Talk to your peers, parents and academic contacts to see if they know anyone in your field of interest. Keep a book filled with useful contact information that can help you in the future. Follow up with these individuals to find out more about the actual role and responsibility for a job of interest. This will give you a great sense if that job or industry is a good match with your personality.

Remember not to be discouraged when you can’t find something in your field. While you are on the hunt, take a job or volunteer position that you can somehow relate to that dream job to help pay the bills and keep your resume active. The key to avoid feeling disheartened is to move forward in any way and feel productive.

Freak out #2: Money, money, and money!

In your dreams, you have a plan. Whether it might range from living in an amazing waterfront condo in downtown Toronto or postponing your career to travel the world, money always comes down to the bottom line. With university loans, credit-card debt, rent comes into play; your dreams are often shifted to the backburner. Okay, so how can we achieve this dream? It’s time to begin to assess our finances. Students need to take control of their financial situation before they can’t breathe and even think about their future. Apply to work on campus; usually the shifts won’t be as grueling as other jobs around the community and you will likely get holidays off and flexibility around exam time.

Another suggestion is to avoid spending money on lunches on campus and drinks at the bar (think back to high school). So, suck it up and make a budget. You can have anything you need on a small bank account, you just can’t have everything you like.

Try living with roommates downtown instead of jumping right into a bachelor pad. If you are willing, live at home for a while and try to avoid paying for food and rent. Longing to explore the world’s wonders? Don’t fret. Apply for hotel or other work abroad that allows you to transition into other cities and countries with the same company – and make new friends! Your dreams can still come true; they sometimes just need a bit of altering to be practical.

Freak out #3: Err… are they the one?

Without being over-dramatic, there is something intoxicating about thinking of the future after graduation. For most students, the idea of thinking of being with someone after University is even more nerve-wracking.

Many students avoid getting into serious relationships because of the result of missing opportunities. Yet the fear of having no one in the end can be a depressing thought. It’s important to recognize that dating is a vital part of being a young individual because it allows us to better understand different personalities and develop relationship skills. Therefore, by trying to avoid your love, you could face the risk of passing by a special someone.

Getting serious doesn’t involve saying no to your aspirations and goals. If it does, then it’s probably better to say au revoir now before it’s too late. When you find the right one, they will encourage you to achieve everything that you put your mind to (cheesy, I know) even if it means slowing your relationship down. In reality, at our age, we are not even thinking about the future in a romantic context so chill out, have fun and be open about the scary thought of being in love.