After a recent blog on toxic productivity and how to work on your career in a healthy way, today we’re diving deeper into feelings that might hinder our early career planning. Feeling worried or anxious about the prospect of your next steps after University is something that happens to many of us – but it’s never too late to start your discovery.
For a lot of students, the here and now of university life is all about gaining knowledge, learning academic skills, spending time with friends and cracking down on essays, labs and seminar readings. This is especially the case if you are at the beginning of your university journey – there are so many things to focus on, so many things to take part in and so many things you can do to enjoy the university experience.
Sometimes, the enjoyable (and sometimes stressful) priorities of university life can also slowly remind us about something else: the feeling of panic that goes like this: “I haven’t figured out what I’ll do after graduation!” If this sounds like you, you’re certainly not alone – and we hope that this blog offers you a new, compassionate perspective to what might have been an anxious topic!
1) Recognise your feeling and talk about it
If you find yourself getting anxious or worried when faced with the idea of career planning, it is important to stop and recognise this feeling. Fear, worry and anxiety can lead to avoidance and putting things towards later date – but during your time in university you have so much support around you, that it is better to admit your feelings and face those worries. If you are anxious about any aspect of career planning, it’s a good idea to talk to someone who you trust. This could be a parent or guardian, friend or your Career Consultant.
2) Start with small steps
What if you were able to take small steps towards your career, without really feeling like you are career planning?
Career planning is all about knowing yourself better and making choices which are best for you at the time. After all, the work opportunities you will apply to in the future require you to know yourself enough to match with potential roles. In a time where you are just beginning to explore your interests, passions and values, it’s good to start small and just get to know yourself.
Try some self-reflective exercises: on our Keats pages, we host e-learning courses for students who are discovering about careers and developing self-awareness. Starting with small but practical steps like this is a great way to challenge yourself to approach an anxious topic in a healthy way. You might even realise that you’re further along on your career thinking than you give yourself credit for!
3) Use your time wisely
You might feel anxious or worried about a big goal in the future and feel the pressure to get there quickly. Does it feel like you’re supposed to build success in leaps and bounds, rather than small steps? If you find yourself thinking about a looming, perhaps overwhelming goal in the far or near future, remind yourself that you genuinely do have enough time to get there.
Remind yourself that your career journey is a long one, with multiple stops along the road to build success. During your time in university, you have lots of opportunities to work on your career journey – from attending an event here and there, to joining a webinar or having a visit to King’s Careers & Employability (virtual) offices for some further reading about careers.
If you’re at the start of your career journey, you are in the Discover stage! Our Keats pages have heaps of advice and encouraging content for you to explore. Working on your career during university is an exciting and enjoyable thing – so hop in and get started on your unique and personal journey!