Updated: May 20
Welcome to our Youth Talk Blog, a section dedicated to youth experience with mental health and wellbeing, with weekly blog posts from diverse young people’s perspectives. This is a positive, fun and resourceful space, showcasing young people thriving and connecting with healthful activities, resources and support. This post has been written by our Community Education intern, Anne, a 21-year-old psychology student.
I have never been one of those people who knew growing up exactly the path they wanted to take in life. More specifically, when it came to thinking of the real world and what jobs I may want to pursue, I was absolutely clueless. It took me looking in on my life as an observer, and I was able to see my strengths that I could utilise through the course of my future studies/profession.
Growing up, I was always drawn towards people. In a family of six, I was constantly surrounded by various personalities, which often led me to analyse every action of mine depending on their behaviour or reactions. At a young age, my older sister was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. My childhood was filled with unexpected emotional outbursts and episodes, and frequent emergency room visits. Although this was hard at the time, it taught me specific skills about working with people that I would not have been able to obtain otherwise. It later became clear to me that I could successfully utilise these skills throughout my future career. This sparked my interest in psychology, since I now have a deeper understanding of how specific treatment and strategies can guide and change a person’s quality of life. This inspired me to want to help other people, like my sister.
Additional ways to help find your passions...
What comes effortlessly?
Finding your passion is not so much about finding, as it is of growing. A question I continuously asked myself when I was trying to find my career path was “what do I do in my free time that comes naturally?”. For me, the answer to this was learning about people and relationships, but this could also be something like singing to yourself or dancing in the mirror. These things won't need to be forced; they will often just flow without resistance. When I talk about resistance, this means the hesitation that may occur prior to engaging in these activities. For example, I often need to talk myself into going on a run on a nice day, which is a clear indicator that this is not an effortless passion of mine.
What are you enthusiastic about?
Through my first year at university, psychology was effortless. The course sparked an interest in me that made me feel like I was choosing to be there rather than forced, which was not the case with my other courses, such as statistics or economics. One way to find what you are passionate about is what you might view as enjoyable when it could be work for someone else. This means identifying areas where you have interest in a topic or activity that you engage in and feel a sense of eagerness or enthusiasm to partake in them.
Don’t be afraid of failure:
For some, they may already know about their passions and interests or can think of one just by reading this post but may feel as if it is out of their reach. The fear of failing can restrict us from endeavouring to reach our full potential. Suppressing your passions due to fear of failure can hold you back from experiencing meaningful opportunities. One thing to keep in mind when worrying about failure is that failing is common amongst most individuals, making it nearly impossible to try anything new without experiencing failure. This does not mean you yourself have failed, but only that you are being challenged to form resilience and try again. This will force you to learn new skills to overcome an obstacle and revert back from a misfortune. This, in the end, will only make you stronger and more courageous.
Where to go from here?
It is okay to not have any idea on what you want to do with your life right now or even down the line. We are placed in a schooling system that strategically organises our schedules to help us find topics that spark interest within us, but I know that not all passions can be found within a classroom. Your passion may also change as you grow, and this is natural. My family was built on the foundation of strong morals and values, one being education. From primary school through the end of middle school, I was placed in a private religious school where everyone came from the same area and held the same beliefs. There was little room to venture out and challenge my thoughts since I was only exposed to this small bubble. Growing up, I learned a lot about the concept of life purpose, however, as I grew older, I began to resent this idea. My schooling taught me that everyone was here for some sort of purpose and it was our job to find this. As a child, this caused me stress and unhelpful thoughts that I may not be able to find my purpose. It was not until I stopped searching for my purpose, my passions were found.
Check out some resources to help you walk the career path: