Planning for the Future Without Stress

This Monday marked my last first day. Here I am, entering my final semester at Concordia. While I really enjoyed the laziness of winter break, I was getting kind of tired of the question, “So what are you doing when you graduate?” Unfortunately, every time I have tried to plan for my future, I was too stressed to make any progress. This has left me with shorter nails, more ulcers, less sleep, and without any idea of what I’m doing in four months. There comes a point, however, where you have to put the stress behind you and just get going on the plan. Below is a list of suggestions to make planning for the future more enjoyable and less of an anxiety-inducing chore, whether you’re looking for a “big kid” job, or a short-term summer position.

1- Explore your options, make lists, and get excited

When you’re ready to start thinking about the future, take some time during the first couple weeks or months to see what’s out there. Make a list of your interests, hobbies, and goals. Ask around and peruse the internet to see what options there might be for you, from continuing school, to a local internship, to a job overseas. Make lists in a journal dedicated to your future plans, or create a folder on your computer. Focus on the fun part of this step; don’t worry about how realistic the options are and don’t be constrained by experience, time, or money.

2- Think about what you want to do right now

You are young with your whole life ahead of you. While it is important to make wise and informed decisions, embrace this phase of your life. If you have a desire to travel, then find a position that will let you travel, even if it isn’t what you want to do as a career. If you want to spend time pursuing one of your hobbies, then look for a job that will either incorporate that into your position, or one that will give you time to also work on your hobby. Let yourself use these few years of college and right after to check off your bucket list before you are tied down by a career.

3- Think of the far future

At the same time, let yourself dream, and think of steps that you can take to accomplish those dreams. In order to achieve a future goal you need to always be moving forward, even if it is in doing something as trivial as taking a night class one day a week or volunteering for a dream organization. Look into opportunities like job shadowing, workshops, and classes that can help you move toward your future goals one step at a time.

4- Realize you are not tied down by what you choose

It might seem as though your decision will affect the rest of your life, but it’s important to realize most people will change their career path multiple times. Don’t let yourself get so stressed out about making the right decision that it takes the fun out of pursuing your passions.

5- Get help

Don’t be afraid to admit you are stuck. Whether you’re overwhelmed by the options or lack thereof, look to your mentors, professors, and advisers for suggestions and guidance. The Career Center is also a great resource. Our program managers have access to a large network of contacts and opportunities, and will be able to help talk you through the process of decision making. Stop by our office in the Parke Student Leadership Center week days between 8 and 5.

Written By: Career Peer Nicky

Tell us what you think: What are your best stress-free planning tips?

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