Wouldn’t it be nice that when your extremely successful aunt Helen asks you: ‘What do you want to do with your life?’, you would actually have an answer? You finished school (for now) and the world is an unread book – or an unwatched Netflix series, if you prefer. Personally, I used to have the perfect answer, until I realized I said it to please my family members’ ears and maybe my ears as well.
About a month ago, young people were told whether they could start attending the education of their dreams. Most anxious are the ones hoping for a spot on the ‘International Business’ degree on Copenhagen Business School. The GPA needed is above 4.0. I’ve considered applying to the same school and the same degree, but I would eventually end up wondering, what on earth I would be doing afterwards. Do I even want to work with whatever I can be? It just sounds good. I would definitely get a ‘Oh wow. Congratulations!’ from aunt Helen. But how many people feel the same way I do? How many would actually chose an education like that, just to be at peace?
Now, I do not blame my aunt Helen – whom by the way is an alias of ‘society’ – or whoever it is to you. We – the fortunate youth – have to take responsibility of ourselves of course. We are the lucky ones. We are told we are the ones, who create the path of our lives; we can do anything we want to do. All doors are open, we just have to choose which one to go through. We can work with and in absolutely everything. We are unstoppable. But it would be great if we could decide when we are 16 though. I mean, Aunt Helen can’t wait forever to have her question answered. And by forever I mean that you can’t take more than one gap year to figure it out. If you do, you are lazy and you don’t have your life together. How much time do you really need to plan the rest of your life? Some raised in a home by curling parents others lassez-faire. Either way, they still have to run down the same slot.
There is this odd norm. Though we have various self-help books called ‘Do What Makes You Happy’, I remember how I was in the same odd spot as many young people today. What if you don’t have a plan? Now I study something, I never planned I wanted to do. I want this now for sure. I have the luxury problem that I have a ten page list of all my interests, where some people struggle to even get started. Does young people know that it is okay to plan five years ahead only? Or maybe even two?
We all know that choosing an education – and thereby a work-field – is not just showing the world which kinds of books we read. With various GoMore-trips in my bag, I think I can say that what we do for a living is always the first thing, we exchange during an encounter. It says something (read: ‘a lot’) about who we are. So what are you, if you do not know yet? An imbalanced and torn soul who will end up relying on society? Or even worse; someone who thinks that there are so many fantastic opportunities in life that you feel overwhelmed? Millennials are estimated to turn at least 100 or 110. Some sources say that the first to turn 150 is already born. This means that the thought of retiring in the sixties – or maybe even the seventies – are so unlikely that it probably haven’t even entered our minds. Does that mean by the time we are 20, we have to figure out who we are for the next 60 years to come?
What I am really trying to say is; some people struggle to find something, they can stick to for their entire lives. When you ask most young people today, they don’t exactly know which field in the medicine or arts world they want to dig into. Personally I kinda hit a wall. I suddenly had to choose my identity. I’ve always seen me as the black/grey/white suited women too busy to notice the world. Suddenly I realized I would miss my freedom to wear pink or an overly architectual purse.
The ironic thing is – to me at least – that the fear of choosing the wrong path and wrong career leaves young people to ramble between fields. Or worst case scenario; feel like they need to have more time to think about their future. What about those who end up graduating? They are leaving the treadmill of education that they have been on for 17 years – pretty much for as long as they can remember (.. literally, anything at all). Earlier we have experienced an overload of academics, which makes us long for people who can, you know, build stuff. Also, if we can get relevant working experience and climb the career ladder while studying for an a+ without any gap year, we can land that dream job afterwards. My 1,5 gap year showed me who I am and what I want to do at least for the upcoming years. If I had studied what I thought I would after high school, I would’ve applied to every acting school (afford)able, tested my reading skills studying law, channeled my creative thoughts into a fashion management degree, worked on my writing skills studying creative communications, tried my best in the business world by studying at Copenhagen Business School whereafter I would end up study to become a real estate broker. Am I lazy? No. Do I have my life together? Also no. Because I like what life throws at me. I like not knowing quite yet. I like being able to say my opinion and challenge other people, ’cause that is what I find inspiring in other people as well. This odd norm makes it all sound like this is the only opportunity you get to chose a career. So all those young people who have just gotten into their dream education – will we see the mathematician study psychology next year?