Myth #11: You need to decide now what to do with the rest of your life.

As students we often fall into the trap of believing that we must decide on our future profession before graduating, and that this decision is somehow a lifelong commitment. You have a wide range of career options open to you and deciding on a single one, especially without experience of any others, is not only difficult but perhaps also impractical.

Career trajectories are not static. They continue to change with the world around us, as you will too. On average, people change their careers three times during their working lives, so it is more than likely that you won’t remain in the sector that you start in. It’s hard to anticipate what things will inspire, what problems you desire to solve, and any curveballs life might throw your way – all of which will impact on your career path.

For example, when I was studying my undergraduate degree, a friend I lived with studied Maths and planned to continue to postgraduate level after graduating and become a teacher, but because she focused a great deal of her energy on her extracurricular activities, she graduated with a 2:2 and was unable to get onto her desired postgrad scheme. However she took this in her stride, and on the back of a summer internship she completed during her second year with a large global bank, she secured a position in their wealth management division, where she has worked happily ever since.

RGB_UOM_CAREERS_LOCK_UPS_DIVE_IN-01So don’t get bogged down with the specifics of a ‘lifelong career’ right now. You have a lifetime to figure out what you want to do, and this will change as you experience new things. For now, focus instead on the immediate future – on what you want to do in the next six to twelve months, and what you can do to make this happen, whether that’s getting some work experience, attending some careers events next semester, or chatting to friends and family (and Careers Consultants!) about what interests you, what doesn’t, and what options you could consider. Take small steps towards your future, remain open to change and you’re more likely to find the role you love whilst making the most of all the opportunities that lead you there.

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