Help me out - the future

What does the future hold?

We all focus on what’s coming next, and it’s important to be mindful about our future, but we don’t want to get carried away. While it’s important to have goals to aspire to because they can help us do better at school, worrying too much about the future can cause us more stress than is good for us.

You might experience a lot of pressure to know what you’re going to be – or perhaps you feel like all your friends know what they want, but you don’t. It’s fine not to know. It’s far more sensible to take your time and make the right decision for you than to rush and make the wrong decision.

Some people have a clear idea of what they want to be in the future, but most people have no idea. Knowing what you want to do “when you grow up” is a big question that many adults still ask themselves - so it’s a lifelong question that can change over time. It’s important to know that there are not just one or two chances to make up your mind. There are lots of options and opportunities to pick different routes through your life.

Dr Aaron and Chavala's advice on thinking about the future

Going your own way

It can be tough when the adults in your lives have strong ideas about what you should do, and those ideas are different from what you want. You may worry about letting them down. Tell them that you acknowledge that what they want is different from what you want, and be clear with them about why you want to do something different. If you can get some impartial advice from someone else and build a case, it will help them to understand. Having the determination and focus you need, along with a lot of hard work, will increase your chances of meeting your goals.

Choosing subjects

It can be hard to make decisions, especially when they feel important. Choosing subjects can be stressful for lots of reasons:

  • Worried about making the wrong decision? Remember you can always change your mind at another time.
  • If the choices on offer don’t match the direction you wish to go in, get some advice. Lots of subjects form the foundation for things you can study later.
  • Try not to direct what choices you make because your friends are in some classes and not others. There will be plenty of time to see them – you’ll be spending most of your time in class studying anyway.
  • If you’re feeling confused about how to choose, take the time to talk it over with a trusted teacher and get some guidance.

When you don’t know what you want

Think about what you are good at. What’s your passion? If you focus on a skill you are already developing and enjoy using, then you’re more likely to find study or work that makes you interested.
If it’s still too early to know, cover all the bases so you have the widest choice available to you when you decide. There’s no “wrong decision” – if you feel you’ve chosen badly, speak to someone, and use the next opportunity to change it.
You can always change course or subjects or retrain. If it’s really stressing you out get some advice from someone who knows – you don’t have to work it all out on your own!

There are so many options today – whether that’s university, apprenticeships, starting your own business or working for a great company – you’ll find it, even if it takes some time.

The future is bright!

Worrying about the future is natural but it can also be a waste of energy. No one can predict what is going to happen and worrying never helps. The future is exciting and full of new, interesting experiences. Make sure you think about what makes you happy, what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and work from there.

The future is bright… and the future is exciting!

For information about organisations which can offer more advice on a range of issues, check out the advice helplines page.

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