Being a University Student without a Clear Path

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.

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 know 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. A doctor. A dentist. A nurse. A teacher. A dancer. A realtor. A chef. Well, not me.

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 common to feel pressure from family and society to go straight into a career after college, then work your way up the ladder to 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?

My Journey

Well, not my fairytale. When I graduated from university, although I had a bachelor’s 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.

To 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?

Isn’t this when learning should begin? Isn’t this 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?

Why It’s Okay to Not Know

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 and finding all of the opportunities out there, not just what is common and told to you.

It takes finding your creativity and 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.

It’s ok to take time figuring out what your passions and purpose are. You can have your ideal career and dream lifestyle if you continue to listen to your inner self, stay true to your values & block out society’s noise. @saharadevore (Click to Tweet!)

Listen to Your Inner Self

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 30. I began 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 as a travel coach.

Now It’s Your Time

Take the time 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.

Take control over your own destiny by opening your mind to learning as much as you can, staying true to yourself, and keep on experiencing. Do the inner work, take time to think, and brainstorm a list of qualities that you desire in an ideal career and a happy lifestyle.

Sahara Rose De Vore is a travel coach and expert and the founder of The Travel Coach Network. She empowers travelers to take control and design their dream lifestyle through storytelling, authenticity, personalization, and human connection so they can have the transformative and impactful travel experiences that they crave. She has a BA in Hospitality and Tourism and has spent a decade traveling the globe to over 80 countries by the age of 30.  She is a travel blogger turned published author of her travel and mindset guide “Hey You, Just Go!”. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Image courtesy of Pono Lopez.