Feeling lost

I’m starting my final year this year I still don’t know what I want to do after I graduate. I find most of my subjects interesting but I’m not passionate about my course, and my results are just average. Everyone else seems to know exactly what they want to do and where they’re going except me and I’m finding it hard to stay motivated. I’ve heard that if you find something you love then you’ll never work a day in your life, but how do I find my calling?

Thanks for your question, this is actually quite a common source of stress for many students, and you’re certainly not the only one who feels this way! It can feel stressful to not have a plan in place, and it’s easier to feel motivated in your studies if you know your degree is going to lead you to a career you feel positive about.

Regarding how you feel about your current studies, remember that the experience of studying a subject and the experience of working in that field can be very different. You’ll also often be using some different skills in your degree than you will once you start working. For this reason, it can be helpful to keep an open mind and consider that you will learn a lot more about yourself and your field of work once you get your first job, and this may give you more information about where you want to go next. Many people find they learn more about what they want to do and what options are available after they’ve started working. Sometimes it’s best to have just the first few steps planned and to be flexible about what you’re going to do after that. Try not to put pressure on yourself to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life right now!

It would be great if you could feel absolutely sure about your ‘calling’ and know that you’ll love every day of your working life, but it sounds like this expectation is making it hard to make any decision. For many people, passion about their work grows over time and with experience, and even people who are very happy in their careers will not love everything about it. Consider some more realistic expectations, such as finding something that is interesting or that has some meaning for you, and use this as a base to improve on.

If you’re feeling anxious about this, try doing some research on what job options there are with your current degree, and see how much you can find out about the day to day realities of doing those jobs. You may find yourself getting excited about some of them, or be able to rule some options out, and then start to form a clearer plan in your mind that will help with your current motivation. In the meantime, don’t forget to work on other areas of your life that bring you joy or satisfaction, so there is less pressure to find the ‘perfect’ job straight away.

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