This time six years ago I was laying in bed scrolling through my Facebook feed with tears rolling down my cheeks and regret consuming my every movement. Three months earlier I’d dropped out of my final year of school gripped by the debilitating effects of depression and anxiety. Now I was forced to look on in envy at all those who had ‘made it’.
Mum feared the worst. I feared the worst. I thought for a long time that my life was worth nothing. Though I tried to resist the feelings, the day inevitably arose in which I didn’t want to be around any more. It seemed that without my Year 12 certificate and the prospect of a university degree (which it seemed everyone was going to have in three years time) my life was going nowhere – fast!
Over time and through much heartache I learnt that there was in fact a life after school that lay outside the confines of what I’d been told over and over in the years preceding. I didn’t need to go to uni. I didn’t need to have that particular OP score. I didn’t need to worry about what everyone else was doing!
I just needed to do what made me happy.
Of course at the time I was so panicked and stressed about the situation that I couldn’t see the wood from the trees! I wish I had someone to stop me and tell me, ‘Paul, don’t stress, everything will work out even better than you’ve ever imagined!’
It’s funny too because I was actually looking at the prospect of Uni for next year and discovered there’s a simple test I can sit in order to qualify for almost all of the courses. So even if I did now want to pursue that path I could.
There are always options.
For those now leaving school worried about the future or unsure what to pursue in their lives I’d give them the following list of options:
- Start a business
- Start another business
- Fail again
- Live in a different country
- Try a few different jobs
- START A BLOG!
- Volunteer for a charity
- Pursue a childhood hobby
- Create your own YouTube channel
Truth be known you’d probably be better off starting your own YouTube channel than going to Uni anyway! But regardless, live life, have fun, meet cool people, smile and you’ll figure out where your passions lay eventually. And even if you never do (which I doubt) at least you’ll be having a blast and learning a lot more than you could in any classroom!
Life’s too short to live in the shadow of expectation.
Unfortunately I spent far too much time wallowing in my own well of self pity wishing things were different and envying those who were treading the path most traveled. Instead, I should have been enjoying the opportunities that were right on my doorstep.
Luckily though it’s never too late – for any of us!
Greatness Via Passion.
How has your life turned out since leaving school? What you expected or a very distant cousin?! Leave your thoughts in the comments below and share this with any school leavers you know 🙂
I’m 22 years old, live in the land down-under and am a writer, sometimes speaker and beyondblue Ambassador. Fun fact: I’ve only missed one Summer, northern and southern hemispheres, in the last four years! You can say G’day on Twitter or Instagram or read more about my story here 😀