The Believe in You project surrounds the idea of embracing who you are and being confident in taking your own path in life. As we grow in our journey’s, many of us find ourselves facing a crossroads. One road will take us on an expected, conventional and predictable route, whereas the other road is less predictable and less societally acceptable – often the road less travelled. When we feel that our heart is pulling us towards this less conventional route, it often takes strength, confidence and courage to follow down this road.
This dilemma faced me when I started University. Like many others, I planned to finish school and go on to do a degree. I applied for University, never giving it a second thought whether it was right for me or not, and I didn’t consider any other options. It was not until I started University, that I found the course was not what I had expected, and the experience as a whole was not how I had imagined, that I began to question if University was really for me.
Growing up we subconsciously take on societal expectations and the expectations of those around us. It is often not until we experience things first hand, that we can see if something is really what we want. In order to grow and live the life meant for us, we have to unlearn these teachings and rewire our minds to match our own values. As you do this, opportunities start presenting themselves and you will be ready to take them. You will start seeing a life that matches you and your values and it will be a life you created yourself.
When you have several options, it can be challenging to commit to a decision. My decision surrounding University was the first serious choice I had to make for myself, in regards to my future. Despite the fact I know now, that changing direction was right for me, it did not make everything in my life perfect. For a while, I felt very lost and at times compared myself against others who had taken the conventional path. It took hard work on myself and my mental health to grow in confidence.
I realised quickly that it takes work to stay focused and stay positive, especially when you look towards your future and do not have a clear path laid out for you. I still have to stay conscious in order to not allow self-doubt or comparison thoughts take over my mind. Taking the University path at that time would have given me certainty, but it wouldn’t have given me the feeling of alignment and self-understanding that this path has given me.
As young people, we often feel pressurised to make a conclusive decision about our future. We at times feel that we will be bound to a certain decision for life. It is okay to seek help when you are trying to find your way and know that you are not a failure for changing direction. It is also okay to take a break if needed or to change your mind, and I believe that it is very important to do so, as it allows for growth and self-discovery and essentially leads you to the life that is meant for you.
Clare Shanley – Ambassador for The Believe in You Programme