The average age most people start their careers is their early 20’s. For some of you, that can seem so far away. There are so many YouTube videos to watch or even make, and Instagram might not even be a thing by then. You have enough stressors in your life now, anyway. So why do you need to choose your career now?
Pressure to Decide
There is so much pressure now to make life’s biggest choices, especially to choose a career. Choose your career, they tell you, so you can choose your major, choose your college, and choose the AP or other college-level classes… wow. That is a lot of choices. And so much pressure being put on you by school, family, and society to make them all now, today. To put that into perspective, it would be like buying a home so that you can choose your décor, buy your furnishings, and then choose what you want to cook for dinner today in that kitchen. That’s not fair for anyone, least of all a teenager.
Benefits of Deciding
However, unfortunately, the system does offer benefits to those who plan well. There are so many twists and turns in that scenario that give you advantages in what has become an increasingly competitive world in both career and academics. Sometimes, though, those advantages are not worth you losing your mind and missing out on what should be the best years of your life.
Being well-rounded and emotionally happy is better than landing the perfect internship or taking the exact classes that will help you get into the right college or university. Sometimes, taking that chance to be in that a cappella singing group or on the basketball team will give you more as a person than even getting into that perfect school or having the highest GPA in your class. There are benefits of having a plan, but there are also benefits from planning to enjoy your life.
All or Nothing Choices
Sometimes it seems that today, right now, you have to make the choice, choose the career, and then make all of the choices that will get you there, too. This all or nothing mentality is more likely to drive you all the way crazy and leave you with closer to nothing to show for it. The system is set up to make it seem like you need to have everything figured out, but the truth is, there are plenty of ways to make choices along the way.
Breaking down the big choices into smaller, more manageable choices means that you can maintain your mental health and still make really good plans and choices for your future. If people are pressuring you to make all of the big decisions now, creating an all or nothing, suffocating level of tension for you, just take a deep breath, and know that you can break it down for yourself.
Leave Some Windows Open
Making a plan now for your career does not mean that the whole plan gets scrapped if you change your mind about things along the way. You do not have to etch your plan in stone and then follow every single etching perfectly. You can put some things in pencil, leave some decisions unmade, and make your parents and school staff happy, but still retain your own freedom to choose and also to change your mind. Take some of the classes other people say you need, but save a class or two in your schedule to take some things that you want. Choose a few colleges that have similar programs instead of locking yourself into one school.
Choose a Field, Not a Career
One of the best ways to make everyone happy is to choose a field, instead of a career. For example, you might really like marine biology, but you are not sure exactly what you want to do within that field. Do you want to be an aquatic veterinarian or a marine mammal trainer? You can choose the overall field, which will help you take the classes you need to get into the school and program that you want. As you continue on your path, you can make the more specific choices along the way. You have made some of the big decisions, but have also taken the pressure off of you and given yourself plenty of opportunities to change your mind and make new decisions.
Put Your Choice into Perspective
At the end of the day, you are right. Why do you need to choose your career now? There are some choices you can make to help you start heading in the right direction. There are classes you can take and other choices that will make sure you don’t miss out on the bigger choices down the road. But you need to arrive at your career with mental health. And you should remember that right now, you are still young, you do have time, and you should still be having some fun, too. You definitely do not need to live with suffocating pressure. Get some help to break down your choices and head toward your future with peace.
You don’t necessarily need to make all the big decisions now. Find out how you can deal with the pressure and still enjoy your life. Call Embark Behavioral Health 1-855-809-0409 today. Choose a mentally healthy life today.