With university comes the relentless cycle of teens becoming young adults, and with that we are pinned with the task of “finding” ourselves. However, as personal of a journey that this is, it often feels like a never-ending competition in an environment like University—an ecosystem filled with people seemingly just like us. Competition brings pressure, with hundreds of people leaving university with the same degree and similar qualifications.
So…what will put you ahead? How many extracurriculars do you have to be in to make your CV noticeable? How much work experience must you have to even be considered for your dream job? With all those questions constantly on our minds mixed in with our environment, it can easily feel like we’re behind.
Comparing Is Toxic
At times it can seem like people know exactly what they’re doing. Meanwhile, others feel rather lost. For instance, overhearing conversations other students are having about the clubs they’re in, the jobs they have, or the coursework they’re doing almost always leads to the act of comparison.
This comparison is crippling, defeating, and above all a significant step towards failure. Sure, you can use other’s achievements as motivation to get started on accomplishing your own, but the second you find yourself comparing multiple aspects of your life to someone else’s, you must stop.
Seriously, how unrealistic is it to be just like someone else in every aspect of their life? Even more importantly, would you even want to be an exact copy of someone if you truly could? Hopefully the answer is no. As cliché as it sounds, the only thing you can count on to set yourself apart is that you’re uniquely yourself.
Many mistake admitting they’re lost as a sign of weakness and that causes the irrational, yet common fear that everyone except you has their lives figured out. However, these fearsome people fail to see the beauty of self-discovery and all the lessons to be learned with it, such as a sense of purpose that can serve as an incredible motivator.
Everyone reaches this sense of discovery at different point in their lives and that means many of you may not even find your purpose until after university. However, everyone deserves to find it.
What You Can Do
Here are some useful tips to help kickstart your journey towards finding a true purpose in your young adult years:
• Start putting yourself first — Many preach the importance of going out of your way for others with an emphasis on the importance of putting others first. However, this can end up putting your own chances of self-discovery on the back burner. Once you start doing what you want to do (to an extent) you can discover your true interests and what makes you happy, rather than what makes others happy.
• Try new things — Trust me, just like you I would rather sit in the comfort of my bedroom eating chocolate than go out during one of my free evenings to try make new friends in a club I’m not even sure I will be fully interested in. Unfortunately, many things we enjoy in this world aren’t easily predicted. You never know what something has to offer you until you experience it. You could meet your new go-to group of friends, find a new interest that leads to your future career, or maybe even be introduced to a new career opportunity all due to trying something new. You never know!
• Step out of your comfort zone — Many claim a life lived in the comfort zone is one that isn’t lived at all, and personally, I would have to agree. If you don’t push yourself, you may never find out what you’re capable of. Without stretching yourself, there’s no growth. Heck, you may even end up surprising yourself with your potential.
• Accept you won’t be good at everything — One of the most important guidelines to remember is that it’s okay to be average, it’s okay to be less than average, and it’s perfectly okay to suck at something too. As long as you give whatever you’re doing your all, that’s all you can do. Just because you give something your all, though, doesn’t mean you’re going to be amazing at it. If all it took was some hard work, people would be amazing at everything. Don’t set yourself to unrealistic standards and don’t get discouraged if you aren’t capable of something someone else is. And remember – there’s no such thing as making mistakes as long as you learn from what’s happened!
Be patient in your journey to find purpose, for there is no “right” time for anyone to find theirs. Furthermore, don’t overthink the idea of purpose and existence. Live your life naturally and with a positive, growth-minded attitude. With a little bit of patience and the utilisation of these tips, you’ll definitely be on the right track towards finding purpose in your university years.
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