1. Most people are just as scared about the future as you are, they just don’t show it.
A few weeks before high school was over, a friend of mine was telling me about her plans for the coming year. “I’m doing Camp America next year!” she said. I didn’t know what that was, but it seemed like everyone had beautifully crafted answers whenever I asked them about their post-high school plans.
Everyone but me, that is. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do. I knew I loved music, but when I wasn’t accepted into the music course I applied for, I convinced myself that I didn’t really want it in the first place! I had applied to a bunch of other courses for no other reason than to fill in the empty spaces on the application form that read “second choice” and “third choice.”
I was confused about what I wanted to do, and confused about why, all of a sudden, I was left to decide that on my own, after years of having everything decided for me.
Finally I was accepted into a Bachelor of Science and just like that, I too had a beautifully crafted answer when asked about my plans for the coming year.
The truth is, the majority of us have no idea what we are doing when we reach the end of high school. We are all just as apprehensive as each other about taking the next step towards something, anything.
The good news is, whatever you decide to do once high school is over, is fluid and changeable. I know engineers who became marketers, nurses who became professional long distance runners and builders who became pilots. I started off as a scientist and became what I always truly wanted to be: a musician.
Never think that everyone has it all figured out except you; it’s just not true.
2. University is not necessarily the best time of your life.
When I got to science school, people kept telling me that university was going to be “the best years of my life.” I had built such high expectations for my time at university that I lost track of why I was there in the first place. I was so eager to meet new people and have “the best time of my life” that I really fell behind in my work.
I failed three papers in my first year and spent two summer schools making up for it so I could graduate on time. I am glad that I had finally decided to focus on my work. A lot of people were able to be social and do well at university, but I wasn’t one of them. I had to work harder than the average person to understand the curriculum.
I ended up graduating with a Masters degree in the end and proved to myself that if I put in the work, I could get what I wanted. I did make some lasting friendships and have some fun memories, but I wouldn’t have graduated if I hadn’t decided to focus.
3. You will still have some of your high school friends ten years later.
My best friend from high school is still my best friend now. One of the cool things about growing up is seeing your friends grow and go through the different stages of their lives. Some life dramas will feel like a Home and Away plot twist, others will be testing and heart-breaking.
I lost touch with a huge number of friends from high school, but made new ones through university, work and my music. My circle is much smaller now, but tighter. The ones that matter will stay if you both make an effort to prioritise your friendship as life gets busier. Friends fill a space that family and romantic relationships don’t. They help you remain an individual. Just make sure you pick out the weeds and keep the flowers.
4. Growing old is a blessing denied to many.
I used to hate growing older each year. I think part of it was because I thought by a certain age I should have achieved a bunch of things. I still have anxiety about growing older every now and then, but I always remember a quote I read that impacted on me:
“Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”
It gets me back to feeling more grateful.
Your body is pretty resilient right now, but make sure, by the time you hit your mid-twenties, if not before, that you are eating well, sleeping eight hours a night, drinking plenty of water and exercising. When I follow my own advice, I seem to have enough energy to get through my work day then play a gig, record some music or write. Help your body help you.
5. You can design your own life exactly how you want it, just don’t stay stuck.
After I graduated from university I found a job in the science field. Everything around me told me that this is going to be “the rest of my life.” It was time to be an adult, have responsibilities and put some money aside. It just didn’t sit well with me. It made me feel stuck.
My first love was always music and after finding a few like-minded people both in person and on social media, I realised that I could make my own rules.
Why be one thing and not the other? I decided that I was going to be both a scientist and a musician, because why not?
I found a job that allowed me to work three days a week in science and work on my music for the rest of the time. Just this week I went to Auckland Hospital for my day job, then filmed two music videos on my days off for my two upcoming singles, to be released later in the year. I had to learn to cut down my expenses so the money I make from my day job can support me while I try build my music career.
The thing is, life will become what you want it to, even if you don’t know what that is now. Just take a leap in a direction, give it a good go, finish what you start and stay curious about the next step. What you did before will help you with your next step.
I don’t regret going to science school, because it taught me a lot about hard work and it provided me with the income to fund my music adventure now.
There is no set path or set of rules that you have to follow. As long as you give what you are doing 100%, there should be no reason why you can’t dream up your ideal life and work towards it, despite the circumstances.
The world is full of examples of people who have done just that, so seek them out and stay inspired. Some might call people like us dreamers, but a little dreaming never hurts, in fact it’s essential to making life exciting and adventurous.
This guest post was written by Yasamin, a musician and creativity blogger who is making the transition from sciences to music, one song at a time! www.yasaminmusic.com
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