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No Plan, no problem

Rhea Jones' monthly column Dear Mom & Dad
Rhea Jones 002

It’s okay to not have a plan. It’s okay.

This is an idea that I wish I could make my past and current self understand. There is so much pressure on young adults to know what they want from life, have an ultimate goal, and a plan to get there. While some students know exactly what they want and have a clear path towards it, not everyone is that lucky.

For some students, their future is a little blurrier because they haven’t quite figured out all their passions and skills yet. High school can often be a very stressful time for these students because there is such much emphasis on choosing a career as soon as possible. After hours of stressing and brainstorming, I have come to the conclusion that no plan is not a bad thing. 

Here’s why: First of all, it’s a very wide world with limitless ways to live, make money, and be happy. It’s not realistic for young adults to know what they want fresh out of high school because at this point we aren't even aware of half the possibilities. We only know the reality we have been given and we just might be shocked how different life can be in another part of the world, with new people, or doing new things. Exploring our options might just show us what we want, or what we don’t want which is also very valuable to know. 

Not only are our options unclear but we also don’t fully know ourselves yet. The truth is we don't get to make a lot of our own decisions as students. We’re told when to work, when to take a break for lunch, what courses to take, how to act on the playground etc. Therefore, we never really get to learn who we are when we are free to make our own decisions and do what we want with our time. It just might happen that we discover some new interests or talents that bring us joy.

It’s also important to realize that life sometimes has different things in mind for us and doesn't always follow our plans. As we’ve all learned in the past year or so, the world can be flipped upside down at any instant and we have to adapt and grow with the changes. In saying that, our plans rarely end up exactly the way we expected them to anyways. Don’t think of your career as a straight and linear path but instead as a flowing river that can change and evolve as you go. 

You shouldn't have to make up a fake plan to tell your extended family during small talk or feel pressured to rush into something that doesn’t feel fully right. It’s okay to simply not know and to take the time to figure yourself out. While it may seem like everyone has everything figured out I assure you, you are not alone. Even your parents, teachers, and mentors don't have everything fully worked out.

After all, that’s part of the fun!