Happy 2016, everyone! It’s a new year, it’s a new day and we’re all setting new goals and raising our expectations high for our lives and projects.
I’ll admit it – I’ve been a bit stuck lately. I think it has to do with focus in the new year and the end of a pretty big project at work. I was concentrating all of my energy into this one thing and making it successful (which it was, hurray!) and now everything is up to me again.
With the new year, I started looking more closely at my goals for the future as well. Many interesting projects are coming along, but in a way, I feel I’m still at the drawing board phase in my life. I’ve figured some stuff out, I feel like I’m on the right path, but it’s still me defining what exactly I want to achieve.
I was really lucky and found an outlet that explains just that: Millenial – the podcast that talks about maneuvering your 20s. It starts off with a confused protagonist. Megan Tan just finished college and she’s decided not to go the traditional route and get the first graduate job that comes along. Instead, she’s looking for what she really wants to do.
I identified with it so quickly that I got scared of how well I fit the stereotype. After I finished university, I was exactly the same. I felt lost and didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with my degree. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I studied – journalism.
But there are so many possibilities, with an arts degree in particular. I could become:
- a news reporter in print, radio, TV, online, multimedia
- a feature writer
- a reviewer (of books, movies, games, music),
- a researcher
- social media assistant
- radio producer, presenter, editor
- editorial assistant
- content creator
- communications assistant
- freelance writer.
And that’s just to name a few.
I could also focus on a certain subject and specialise in that nieche – I’d done that already, working for a sustainability magazine. I was interested in environmental news and reporting, but I also love books and publishing.
I did my dissertation on investigative journalism and loved every moment of it. I did investigations for news pieces that went into my portfolio and I researched everything on the Freedom of Information Act.
I loved Media Law and Ethics and was really keen on dwelving in deeper and examining the issues regulation brings up in investigative journalism – so I would have liked to be even a research assistant or go in academia.
Having all these options de-centred my usual focus and a world of possibility meant I didn’t really have a clear idea, a staight forward line to go on. It’s such a blessing and a curse at the same time. I felt free to move about, experiment with my career, hopeing some day I will find what I’m meant to do.
At the same time, it meant I had the enormous responsibility of choosing the right one. I was in charge of my own happiness. Of course, I had more experience in some areas than in others, but I had the support available from family and friends who told me I could do anything I wanted.
Overwhelmed by all these choices, I took a side step. I decided to get away from it and carefully consider what I wanted. I took a break. I went on a teaching English course and straight after that I got a job in a school in Spain. I did what I found easiest there, I went with my skill set rather than my aspirations.
That year abroad made me realise I can’t run away from my ambition. I could continue to do it and I learnt so much there – but it wasn’t enough for me.
Now I’m back at the drawing board – with a job I love, but still deciding what’s the next step. The narcissism in this plays a big part too. I realise I’m part of a generation that’s been told to follow our dreams – and then following economic collapse, we were left with designers, artists, journalists, musicians working in coffee shops and bars, or even worse, not working at all.
I know I’m priviledged and I acknowledge the struggle so many people go through. It makes my worries seem little and not important, but it doesn’t make them go away.
So what do I plan to do about it? I haven’t figured it out yet, but starting a conversation is a good first step. Keep an eye out for more millenial struggles.