Why I Listened to My Inner Self Rather Than to Society's Expectations After University

You spend almost all of your childhood and youth in school. Pre-school, kindergarten, grade school, middle, and then high school.  Now, it’s time for college.  Some go right into college with their career path in mind.  The first few semesters, maybe even years, maybe you aren’t sure what you degree you want to get that ideal job that you aren’t sure of yet.  And that’s ok.  The third year of university rolls around and you finally “make your choice”.  

You definitely don’t want to disappoint your parents.  I mean, they are probably paying a pretty penny to put you through school.  Or maybe you’re paying for your schooling through loans, on your own.  Either way, you definitely don’t want to “waste” your time in university.  Everyone around you seems to know what they want to focus on.  What career they want to go for with the degree that they’re aiming to graduate with.  

But you, you still aren’t quite sure.  Should I just major in psychology because it’s pretty common? Maybe communications? That seems pretty easy.  How about business? I think I might want to be in business of some sorts one day.  Possibly? There isn’t much time left before year four approaches. Your parents, friends, and family are asking you what you’re studying.  

Who do you want to work for when you graduate? What company will you apply to?  You insecurely and disingenuously give an answer that you think they want to hear.  But you now in your heart of hearts that you just aren’t sure of your passion, purpose, and path after you graduate.

I share this because that was me.  I was never that person who knew exactly what I wanted to be or do.  Some people know from an earlier age what they want to do.  Become a doctor.  A dentist.  A nurse. A teacher.  A dancer. Sell houses. Be a chef. Well, not I.  I studied various fields while in university.  I held a multitude of odd jobs throughout the years.  

I knew things that I liked to do and things that I was good at.  I knew what I definitely was not interested in and had no desire in doing. Despite this, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  It’s a common feeling to have pressure from family and society expecting you to go right from college and straight into a career.  

Then “work your way up the latter” and hold some “important” title so you can make a good salary to pay off all of those student loans.  Save enough to then buy a house so you can start a family.  And live happily ever after.  Isn’t that how the fairytale goes?

Well, not my fairytale.  When I graduated from university, although I had a bachelors degree in hospitality and tourism management, I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in.  It just didn’t sit well in my heart to just settle for any career that I could get using my degree.  Nothing felt right. Nothing sparked any excitement.  

I be fair to myself, I was only 22 years old.  How can a 22 year old really know what they’re meant to do for the remaining 60+ years of their life? (I mean, yes, some people do know so my story wouldn’t resonate with you).  At 22 years old, isn’t that when learning should begin? 

Isn’t that when you begin to really learn about yourself, about life, about relationships, about what kind of person you want to be, about what direction you’re meant to take?  To be frank, you’ve been stuck in an institution your entire life thus far.  

Brick walls, predetermined lesson plans, the same path that every other child is forced to take? How COULD you know what your true passions in life are?  How COULD you know what life means to you?  How COULD you know what kind of person you want to be?  How COULD you know what your purpose is? 

It takes exposure and exercising all of your senses.  It takes meeting interesting old souls and holding meaningful conversations.  It takes challenging yourself. Making mistakes and learning from them. Trying new things. 

Learning about all of the opportunities out there, not just what is common and told to you.  It takes finding your creativity.  Seeing new places.  It takes being awoken, being heartbroken, getting healed, gaining and losing, growing and learning. 

It takes experiences.  Hearing other languages. Feeling compassion, gratitude, highs and lows.  It takes a lot more to really understand and know what you’re mean to do and the impact that you want to make on the world.

That’s why I chose to travel.  Right out of university.  I dismissed what “society expected” of me.  I knew that my journey needed enrichment.  I knew that there was so much out there for me to learn and experience.  I knew, in depth of my soul, that I would figure out what my purpose and passion are when the universe wanted me to.  

Yes, it took years. Nearly a decade to be exact.  But that’s the amount of time that I was awarded.  I can lie and say that it was all smooth sailing but, it wasn’t.  Especially as I neared turning 30.  I found myself putting internal pressure on myself.  I often questioned myself on why I didn’t know what career I wanted.  

I could either give in to all that I stood for. Lose my integrity and just “settle”.  Listen to everyone asking me “when I would stop traveling and settle down” or when I was going to get a “real job”.  But I chose to trust in my journey, because it was MY journey. 

And it worked. All of that time that I was spending traveling the world, working various jobs, learning about myself, experiencing all that I was meant to be experiencing, allowed me to figure out my ideal career.  

Those years exposed me to the voids and problems in the travel industry, it brought people into my life that taught me lessons and gave me perspective, it gave me clarity on who I was and my values, it showed me what was important to me and what wasn’t, it exposed me to trends and desires of travelers, and everything else that I needed to learn in order to create my dream career.

Take the time that you need. Listen to what your inner self is saying.  Don’t let anyone else dictate your life or your path. When you put in the time and energy and manifest what it is that you truly want in life, the universe will be there to fill your voids.  What is YOUR journey?

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