If you could choose whether to plan the rest of your life or whether to live in the unknown which would you choose?
Trying to make plans for your future is not easy. I remember sitting in the sixth form common room on a Monday morning at the start of year 13 thinking that the next year will go by slowly. I was wrong. It got to about 2 months before my final exams before I actually planned my gap year.
As of 11th September, until the end of December 2019 I am doing some work with Phase; who have such a big positive impact to help students from KS2-KS4 with their mental wellbeing. One of the first things I think about when I think back to secondary school are the Phase workshops before stressful periods of school…EXAMS!! One of the reasons I chose to work for Phase for a period of time is because I want to go into a career of psychology and counselling, to help me gain amazing first-hand experience to help me get to where I want to be. But it would also be experience I would take further into my career and for the rest of my life.
As well as working for Phase, roughly 2 months ago I applied to a company called ICS, where I decided (by hearing about it through my parents) that going away for 10-12 weeks to Africa or Asia to volunteer would be something I’d want to do. ICS is an organisation whereby you travel to a different location within Africa or Asia to live within the community and experience life there. 90% is funded by the government and the other 10% we have to fundraise by ourselves. When first applying, it felt scary the idea of me being apart from my family and friends for such a long period of time but after 2 months, getting the email to say I’ve been selected to volunteer in 6 months I couldn’t help but feel excited. If you told me a year ago that I would be volunteering overseas in a country I’ve never been in before I wouldn’t have believed you, but here I am full of pride and passion; passing my A-Levels with flying colours, working for Phase and volunteering in 2020 for 11 weeks in Tanzania, Africa 2020.
The amount of planning for my gap year was and still is a lot, but it isn’t always a one-way road; once you’ve made plans you can change them as much as you like until you are comfortable with what you want to do. In my experience, I have gone out of my comfort zone a little knowing the experience and skills I will gain would be worth it in the end.
People are different; there are those of us who love to plan every single move, there are others who do things on the spur of the moment, there is no right or wrong way about it. At school, they teach us that planning our futures means less stress when we execute the plan, that’s not necessarily true. There will be many unexpected obstacles that come in your way at any point during your life, some plans may not always work out and those plans we never thought would work out do.
There’s no shame in planning 1 month in advance nor is there shame planning 2 years in advance; just know that even when you finish secondary school making plans never stop, regardless whether you’re a ‘spur of the moment’ or ‘planning kind of person’. As William Shakespeare said ‘the world is your oyster’; you can do anything, we’re capable human beings, once we put our minds to something our impossible becomes possible.