When I made the decision to go to university it was a no-brainer. I had always wanted to go, that was a good enough reason, right?
Now in my fourth year, I’ve realised that wasn’t why I made that decision. I had no direction, just a few half-decent A-levels and a vague sense that I should stay in education.
I’m now watching my younger sister go through this process, and it breaks my heart to see how much stress it causes her.
Expecting a 17-year-old to know what they want to do for the rest of their life is unfair and unrealistic.
Throughout university my mind has changed more times than I can count and even now I’m not sure where I’ll be this time next year.
There isn’t enough support or guidance.
To the college students who are worried about their future – I know that everyone is trying to tell you what to do and what to think. So I’ll leave you with the most important piece of advice I was ever given – don’t rush.
Take a gap year. Better yet, take two! I’m not talking about going off to exotic countries and building shelters for endangered animals (but if that’s what you want to do don’t let me stop you).
Go out into the world and live – whatever your definition of that might be. Get a part-time job, meet new people, try some work experience in a few different areas to see what you enjoy. University will be waiting for you when you get back.
You could throw yourself head first into higher education right now or in five years time. I’ve made friends that applied to university well into their twenties. If you don’t know what you want to do, that’s okay. Everyone develops at a different pace. Talk to your tutors, your family, your friends – you’ll get there. The world truly is your oyster and everyone wants to see you succeed.
Imogen Beckhelling, 22, is a multimedia journalism student at Bournemouth University.