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Not to know what to do with my life?!

(32 Posts)
LittleRedTealight Fri 08-Apr-16 13:33:58

Just that really.

I'm 23. I'm coming to the end of my degree, and I have not the foggiest idea what to do next! I don't know whether I want to continue in the relationship I'm in (that's another story, I've posted on Relationships about it previously...), I don't know where I want to live or what job I want to do.

I have a place on an MA course, due to start in September, but my brain is so muddled at the moment that I'm not sure if it's really what I want to do at all.

How did you all decide which direction to take in your lives? And how do you learn to actually make decisions, rather than dithering and not deciding on a course of action because you keep wondering, regardless of what you actually choose, whether you'll regret it further down the road? confused

guerre Fri 08-Apr-16 13:39:14

I still don't know, and I'm forty-mumble!grin

acasualobserver Fri 08-Apr-16 13:42:22

You will not be able to identify the correct path until after you have taken it.

Monstertrucker Fri 08-Apr-16 13:44:07

37 here and still not figured it out! I have had 3 'careers' - the first I hated but was most connected to my degree. The other two I enjoyed much more. I think I'm trying to say don't panic - take a path, if it feels wrong you can always change direction. I'm not working at the moment (trailing spouse to DH and have no work visa) so am trying to figure out what I want to do next once I rejoin the world of work.

ImperialBlether Fri 08-Apr-16 13:46:54

I would say that at 23, if you don't know whether to continue the relationship, then don't. It's got to be a fantastic and really special relationship to be worth tying up those years in your twenties.

Is the MA at a different university? If not could you do it somewhere else? Sometimes a change of location can make a huge difference.

mellybythesea Fri 08-Apr-16 13:49:09

I think not knowing is what life is about surely? You learn as you go, you take chances and risks. Part of the fun smile

HootOnTheBeach Fri 08-Apr-16 13:53:31

A friend of mine gave herself until she was mid-twenties to try out any sort of job she liked the look of without the obligation of sticking to that path, so she could quit and move on without issue. In the end she had 3 jobs and by the end of the third one knew what she wanted to do.

I think the important thing is to get a job to get used to the environment first and learn from there.

Lemond1fficult Fri 08-Apr-16 14:02:01

Have you ever worked full time? If you're going straight to an MA from uni it can be difficult to know what it is you actually enjoy and are good at, besides studying.

When I graduated (with a vocational but low-value degree), I had no idea. I moved to London because my best mate was, and I could live with her. Got a shit but well-paid sales job just to get a roof over my head. Then, I identified what it was I enjoyed and hated about each new job, and made incremental changes so that my next job would maximise the good bits and minimise the crap ones. Eventually I found my ideal job, which I do now, and has absolutely no relation to my degree.

At worst a year at work will make you appreciate studying again. At best, you might get to know yourself better, embellish your CV, and earn decent money for the first time.

MaryThorne Fri 08-Apr-16 14:04:05

I would say that at 23, if you don't know whether to continue the relationship, then don't. It's got to be a fantastic and really special relationship to be worth tying up those years in your twenties.

I would agree with this entirely having stayed in a relationship I was unsure about at a similar age and it ultimately ended age 29. Looking back, I realised that there were many opportunities that I missed by sticking with a relationship I knew deep down wasn't right.
As far as not knowing what you want to do at 23, that's pretty common and some of the people I know with the most interesting (but often obscure sounding) jobs didn't know what they wanted to do and ended up in the jobs they really enjoy through chance and a series of fortunate choices. FWIW, I didn't know, and at 39 I have a good, interesting career I'm happy with and DH and DC. I meant DH when I was 32 and qualified in my profession at the same age. I was several years over than the other trainees which I felt mattered a lot at the time but a few years on and it's irrelevant. What I'm trying to say is you've got plenty of time to find the right path for you even though you may feel pressure for everything to fall into place right now. Try to trust your gut instinct on what is and isn't right re relationships and career path. When you find a field interesting, it's worth examining more closely what about it appeals to you specifically and that will help you to understand what might suit you and what wouldn't. Good luck OP smile

redexpat Fri 08-Apr-16 14:05:01

I would recommend temping. You very quickly get a feel for different companies, sectors and what sort of environment suits you best.

Travelling is also good.

Narp Fri 08-Apr-16 14:18:15

I agree with Imperial about the relationship. Although I am happily still with my DH who I met at University, I know several friends who ended up marrying, at 25/6/7 that person they'd had wobbles about at 23, when in hindsight they should have split up instead.

I think there's value at 23 to not knowing what you want to do - I thought I knew and followed that path slavishly when in fact what I needed to do is find out a lot about myself first, and grow and mature. There's a lot of pressure in your 20s to appear to have it all figured out. Doubtless there will be some who seem to be ploughing forwards very successfully but some may be like I was.

I would recommend a book called something like 'What Colour is Your Rainbow?', which helps you look at yourself and what you like (as well as what you are good at)

I really agree with what people have said about doing jobs to find out what it is you like.

I ended up doing that much later - in my 40s but in Voluntary jobs while my DCs were at school.

Narp Fri 08-Apr-16 14:21:12

The book is "What colour is your Parachute" !!!

Narp Fri 08-Apr-16 14:24:00

"HowTo Get A job You Love' by John Lees looks good too smile

oliviaclottedcream Fri 08-Apr-16 14:29:17

I had it all planned out at 23. I knew what area I wanted to work in and where I wanted to end up, where I would live what my husband would look like etc..... I did get a break in said field, and after about 6 months I realised I absolutely hated it.. I'm 50 now (how the fuck that happened I've no idea)!! but am happily self employed in a professional field that I never dreamed I'd have ended up in.

My advice is, take your chances, keep your options open, be nice and positive to people. Life's short, don't obsess over whether or not you will get what you long for. Just see what happens by trying to bring it about... Best of luck. I'd love to be you - really I would!!!

ateapotandacake Fri 08-Apr-16 14:34:10

I've got two degrees because I decided to go back and retrain when I was 27. And now life has brought me in a different direction again, maybe.
All I would say is do something you love, see if you can make enough money doing it to live, and if not see if you can fit it in somehow.

Anomaly Fri 08-Apr-16 14:40:11

If you've been studying for a while it might be worth having a bit of a break. I did this at 21 and just got a series of jobs. They were mainly admin type roles and helped develop skills in the workplace but they weren't long term careers. It meant I could just have a job for a while without constantly feeling like I should be studying which you may have with an MA. I eventually got the job I thought I wanted and realised really quickly that it wasn't. By then my work experience meant I had worked out what I enjoy doing and what I don't and narrowed it down to a particular job and went back to uni to get the necessary qualifications.

At 23 there really is no rush to settle on any particular career path.

MrsBobDylan Fri 08-Apr-16 14:42:03

Dunno about the career but if you've any doubts about the relationship, dump it.

I spent 6 years in a relationship I felt unsure about around your age and while I do regret the wasted time, I feel relived that I did end it and then met my lovely dh who I've not felt one doubt about in 14 years.

LittleRedTealight Fri 08-Apr-16 14:53:03

Thank you all so much for the replies and advice! flowers

I think I know that the relationship is not right in some ways, and that I should go my own way. It's difficult to leave when you've been with somebody for five years, but I suppose everything has its time.

It all feels a bit scary at the moment, but I realise that there'll probably be a point in my life when I look back and think 'what a daft brush I was to be so worried'. grin

Narp, thank you for the book recommendations, I have ordered them both! I'm trying very hard to think positively about the not knowing-ness, even when it seems quite terrifying!

Itinerary Fri 08-Apr-16 14:59:50

Ditch the relationship, and do the M.A. smile

Meanwhile, try to gain some part-time work experience in fields that might interest you, do some work-shadowing, talk to people with careers you might like, and visit the careers service a lot.

ifcatscouldtalk Fri 08-Apr-16 15:00:06

I'm mid thirties and do a 9-5 that i hate. I now am seriously looking into a totally different area of work and although its taken years to identify a line of work that id have a passion for I have moments of wtf am i doing?! I'm v risk averse so find making changes and taking chances daunting. I think the only thing pushing me with the whole career change is not wanting to regret missed opportunities through what ifs. Best of luck OP, you are still very young and the fact you

ifcatscouldtalk Fri 08-Apr-16 15:03:01

Oops..... The fact you are trying to work out the way forward suggests you do have ambition and will do rather well. Most people have to try different things before they get where they want to be.

ShesAGreatGas Fri 08-Apr-16 15:06:39

Another vote for ditching the bloke and doing the MA.

Any kind of work experience or networking opportunities along the way will set you in good stead. Although if I were your age again, I'd go travelling after the MA for a year grin

Whiskeywithwater Fri 08-Apr-16 16:39:31

Get a job in a bank my Mum said to me when I left school at 16 ... "Just while you decide what you want to do"
27 years later still at a bank (not the same one) and still not decided what I want to do when I grow up ...

ghostyslovesheep Fri 08-Apr-16 16:47:27

I based my career choice on the things I liked - talking, helping people, making a difference, working with young people and families

I knew I was interested in these things when I chose a broad degree in social policy then went on to a post grad - I am a careers adviser - have been for 20 years and I love it - I currently work for/with social services

TubbyTabby Fri 08-Apr-16 17:06:02

do the MA. its almost expected that graduates have one now so do it while you're young. it'll put you above others who don't have one.
Bin the boyfriend.
lastly - don't worry.

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