A fair warning that this will be a negative post. I do have days where I struggle, immensely, with my own psyche. It’s not all positivity and shine, and wisdom. This is one of those days.
My heart is burdened. A few minutes ago, I just submitted my acceptance letter for commencing an Honours year. I waited until the last minute to do it, because I was putting off the decision, out of anxiety. The truth is, I’ve been penduluming between deciding if I should commit to it, or completely changing course, to something I know I feel more excited about, but is also rather unrelated to the momentum I’ve set for myself. Right to the end, I was still wavering, like a fickle-minded fool. The year hasn’t even started yet, and I’m already reverting to avoidant coping mechanisms. I’m not proud of it.
Honestly, one part of me is grateful, while the other part is feeling terrible. It feels like I’m about to do something completely inauthentic to myself. Signing that letter felt like signing a death cert. I’m not inclined towards research, not one bit. And even at the end of it all… do I even see myself in a Psychology career? Is it going to be worth the agony and the anxiety and all the effort? I feel like I’ve just spent 3 years in university on autopilot, for a career I’m not certain about. But what is certain? Nothing!
I know I shouldn’t be whining because I’ve got an amazing opportunity to pursue my studies (and it’s not exactly cheap, either!) in a prestigious university, that’s supposed to give me that confidence and headstart I need in life, but why do I feel absolutely miserable and unprepared for the world? I’m behaving like an entitled child. It’s shameful.
I’ve been feeling this way since last year, the minute I finished my last paper for my undergraduate degree. I knew that I would need to come to yet another deciding point in my life. The last time I had to do it, I ended up paralyzed with anxiety and not making any decisions. A year went by, wasted. It was a terrible feeling of shriveling up inside and dying.
I’m so disappointed in myself because I feel like I’ve learnt nothing from that episode by reverting back to this mentality. I’m not getting any younger. I can’t afford anymore mistakes. I can’t afford to waste anymore time.
In attempt to reason out my emotions, I made a pro and con list.
Reasons for doing Honours:
- It seems like the most logical, progressive option; given that it is directly related to my degree.
- Finishing off an honours year now would at least mean that I have the necessary qualifications needed, should I decide to pursue a career as an actual Psychologist.
- Should I decided to take up a group thesis, I know people I’m happy to work with.
- The first three years are unrepresentative of what it actually is like to work in Psychology, so it would be inaccurate of me to base my future projections of the career on them. In other words, I’ve barely seen the tip of what Psychology is about.
- I should just finish it off regardless, and then if by the end of the 4th year, I really cannot see myself in Psych, then I can safely say I’ve tried my best, and move on to greener (?) pastures. Breaking the momentum now would render my first three years rather useless, in terms of a Psychology career.
- It will force (?) analytical skills and organisation down my throat.
- If I do go all the way and end up as a Psychologist, it’s a wanted skill on the PR list.
Reasons against Honours:
- I dislike research, and I have no confidence in my abilities to do it.
- I am uncertain about actually wanting a career as a Psychologist.
- I’m really interested in a Masters of Creative Advertising, because I can see myself more as Creative Director, than a Psychologist, at this point.
- Even if I do complete an Honours year, there’s no guarantee that I’ll even make it to the Clinical or Organisational Psychology program.
Reasons why it’s so confusing to trust my gut instinct.
- I have no idea if the reality of working as a creative is entirely different from what I perceive it to be (it probably is).
- I still want to do something that can help people directly.
- I’ll naturally gravitate to what gives me greater cognitive ease, so clearly being a researcher will cause me distress, because it’s so counter-intuitive to my personality. But that’s me potentially boxing myself without actually trying.
- I’m a ball of anxiety and I screw up everything in my head by magnifying their consequences by a hundred times anyway.
The truth is, Psychology has always been, my Plan B. And now herein lies the frustration and confusion of not really knowing if it’s a good Plan B, in the first place.
Last year, I’ve seen enough damage done, when someone burns out about their career choices. Time, energy, money. Everything is a factor here.
Where do I thrive? When I’m allowed to be creative in my work. When I’m making or doing beautiful things that impact people on an emotional level. When I’m allowed to apply creativity to functionality and see how it is relevant and helpful. When I’m working in a supportive environment.
At the end of the day, I just want to make the most of the opportunities I’ve been given, so I can provide solutions and solve problems of need and demand, in this world.
And I don’t know if I’m going, where I’m supposed to go- to achieve that.
5 years from now, I don’t want to be wallowing in regret. I want to work in a place that will excite me. A place where Mondays feel better than Fridays.
And from here I am now… I’m really not sure.
I think the reason why decisions are scary, is because we think about them on a long-term basis. I feel like making a decision now, will impact the course of my life for the next 5-10 years. I don’t know about you, but the idea of that intimidates me so much. It’s a huge responsibility, and a lot to decide on, despite having so little information. We can’t even tell what’s going to happen tomorrow, so how are we supposed to project ourselves that far into the future? It’s absolutely ridiculous to expect that of ourselves.
We can only imagine, and plan to the best of our abilities, but anyone’s who’s lived a little can tell you that life never follows a script.
Dear seafarer, where is life taking me?