Op-eds

The perils of planning

  • DanielleSack
I remember the evening I chose my Grade 10 subjects very well. I was 15, hardly thinking about university and gap years, and yet there I was, sitting in a room where it was the topic of conversation.
by DANI SACK | Mar 05, 2020

It stressed me out. I had no clue what I wanted to do. As a matric student today, I still struggle with this. I’m sure many of my fellow high-school students can relate to this. We’re constantly confronted with invasive questions about our plans for the future. Which university do we want to go to? Are we taking a gap year? What do we want to study?

I’ve struggled for the past few years to come up with a suitable career path. I’m not mathematically inclined, which rules out engineering, and I pass out at the sight of blood, therefore medicine has never been an option.

I avoid confrontation at all costs, so law doesn’t quite fit either. Clearly, I encompass every stereotypical Jewish parents’ nightmare.

I want to do something that stimulates me creatively, like journalism or graphic design, rather than science-based work. The sad part is that, even though I don’t fit the typical mould, even those who do are struggling with these decisions.

Many of my friends who work hard every day to achieve marks high enough to get into medicine or actuarial sciences are conflicted – should they defer, and go on a gap year, or should they continue with tertiary education, throwing themselves into their passion immediately?

It’s an unfortunate reality that financial constraints often rule out gap years and deferments, something that I remind myself about every time I start to complain about the variety of choices I’m blessed with.

Nevertheless, I feel that as teenagers, we are put under too much pressure to decide what to do with our lives. There is no rulebook here. Allow yourself to be different, indecisive, or firmly set on your choice.

Take time to find yourself before you choose your path in life. Sometimes what looks like the right direction takes you down the wrong road. Gap years and universities – whether you choose to attend either – are a necessary decision, but an unnecessary stress.

If you focus on the journey that inspires you, the destination will probably be a wonderful surprise.

Dani Sack is a Grade 12 pupil at Yeshiva College

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