My favorite road sign is ‘Falling Rocks’. What exactly am I supposed to do with that information? They may as well have a sign saying “Random accidents ahead”, and “Life’s a lottery, Be lucky.”
– Jimmy Car
There’s a problem that most of us probably share by this point in our lives.
I like to call it the mid-college crisis.
The mid-college crisis is that monster under the bed that sneaks up on you.
When we first start college thinking that we own our lives now, the mid-college crisis lets us have our moment. It watches us ‘explore’ new things and thinks it’s cute when we assure our parents that we got this. College is fantastic, it allows us the freedom we could’ve never imagined within the confines of our rigid high school system. Everybody does and should take advantage of this time to chase new passions and discover things that truly make us glow on the inside.
But what happens when college is over? When do we have no safety net and no solid future plans?
And just like this, the mid-college crisis jumps you. What if you have no future because your dreams are ‘unrealistic’? What if you think you know what you want but you actually don’t? What if passion is vastly overrated and can’t win against the drudgery of ‘practical’ living?
A suggestion – Take a gap year
I know, not a lot of positive connotations associated with the concept in our country. I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it could definitely be that one decision that turns your life around. If we have difficulties now asking other people’s permission to take a year out of our own lives to discover ourselves, at a point when we have no jobs, kids, mortgages, and taxes, do you really think we’d get this chance again in the future?
Now listen carefully.
Here are some of the things you could do if you go in for a gap year.
1) Learn a new language– The world is an experience. Why settle for black and white when you could live in technicolor? Take the time out to learn a new language and fully appreciate the culture of its origin. You’d be surprised at how much you can discover and how much this will fuel your dreams of traveling. It also opens other parts of the world for you. Language changes everything, including the way you think. Don’t believe me? See for yourself
2) Get some job experience– You know how some employers only want you if you have job experience, but if you don’t, then they won’t give you a job? There might just be a way out of this. Spend your gap year working/interning at various companies. Not only will this make your resume shine, but it will also give you a decent idea of your skill set, where your interests truly lie, and what you wish to move ahead with now that you’ve grasped basic concepts.
3) Start your own thing– Everyone, literally everyone has a secret parallel universe that they revert to when no one’s watching. Why not give yourself an actual chance? Are you great at art? Start selling merchandise. Love writing? Self-publish! Is gardening your thing? Well then capitalize on it fool! There is no reason to repress your hopes and dreams because other people don’t see practical use.
4) That social life though– Anyone who says that going out, meeting people, trying new stuff, or learning things from first-hand experiences is overrated, is either a liar or a hypocrite. No man is an island, nor is there any greatness in aspiring to be. Do you realize how much we learn from other people? From their experiences and stories? Think about how the people you’ve met so far have helped broaden your horizons, and how many amazing people must be out there waiting to tell you more. While traveling to other countries to work/volunteer is not in everyone’s budget, there is always plenty to be done in your own city that you end up overlooking.
Nothing beats the buzz of living life on your own terms. Sure you may mess up, but you will own it, you will grow and most importantly, you will know.