Should we plan for the future?

From the age of about sixteen, we are constantly fed the idea that every choice we make will affect our lives later on. A-levels will affect your degree and the university you go to, which will in turn decide your standard of living for the next fifty years. Despite this pressure, many of us arrive at university with no idea and lacking inspiration with what to do with our lives. Some even come just to postpone the day they have to join the ‘real world’. It is a concern going through many minds, but you are not alone. Maybe it is possible to say that we worry about what’s to come a little too much?

Winston Churchill said: ‘It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.’

So does this mean that it is wrong to plan for the future?

Planning can be reassuring, giving purpose to people, rather than them feeling like they’re blundering through life. Preparation can be a good thing; wanting a dream job in life is not bad. In fact, having ambitions is healthy because it encourages and motivates people to make something out of their lives instead of coasting forever. Knowing what you what in the future can help you start to work towards that goal. The problem with having a strict plan of the next 7 years is that you could miss an amazing life changing opportunity, just because it does not fit into what you envision yourself doing. This is just as damaging as having no plan, scoring a random job that you do not enjoy because you don’t know what to do with your life. People need to be open to change.

On the other hand, having no plan whatsoever can also be a good thing. Worrying about what jobs you can go into when you graduate only detracts from the now, your actual degree, which, hopefully, was picked because it’s a subject that you enjoy. So do exactly that. Enjoy the subject; try not to worry about what will happen afterwards. Ignore the patronising faces smiling at you saying ‘you can always become a teacher’ (there is nothing wrong with teaching!), and focus on actually enjoying the time you have at university. The last thing you want it is to regret not experiencing more because you were so concerned and anxious about future plans.

So really – it’s a bit of both. Yes, a plan for the future is good but don’t be so inflexible with this, that you leave no room for spontaneity. University is a time where you have the freedom to do just about anything, so let yourself breathe a little, and live in the now not the future.