Recently I started a journey with an unknown destination. I re-enrolled in graduate school to pursue a masters degree in an industry quite opposite from my most recent career. I am seeking a degree in construction management. That alone is exciting. The hiccup in the journey comes with already having completed a masters and PhD in Higher Education. I keep going to school and this next degree is a bit of an outlier compared to my previous career path. I am frequently asked, “what will you do with this degree?” My answer is short, “I don’t know.”
The answer to this question is honest, I really don’t know what will be next for me. My career path for nearly 20 years included higher education, administration, social justice and teaching. My new adventure includes business insight, construction management, and for-profit thinking. The two worlds are seemingly quite different from each other. I do have thoughts on how they can be merged. Maybe I will combine the two and think about design and construction in the world of higher education? I would also love to see a more equitable and inclusive construction industry. I would love for empathy, respect, and kindness to be values present in a contractor’s application to construction for their clients. This merge may well be my new path? I simply don’t know.
While I have struggled to determine a better answer to the question of what I will do with another degree, I have realized it’s okay not to know and to enjoy this journey. I don’t have an answer right now, and I am fine with that. I am writing this for two reasons.
1. To work through my own thoughts about an unknown journey, and
2. To provide validation for others who find themselves on a similar journey.
You too may be on a path with an unknown destination and I am here to tell you, that is great! I am sharing 5 things to consider as you continue on your path.
It’s Okay Not to Know
One question I hate having to answer, yet still find myself asking of others, is what’s next for you? My social circle is filled with individuals about to graduate high school, college, or graduate school. Many times I will ask the dreaded question assuming the soon to be grad has it all figured out. They don’t need to know, it is really okay to not have a solidified plan in place. I should not be contributing to this stress inducing question. The reality is if you don’t know, it doesn’t mean you are waiting impending failure!
Yes. There will be a time when logistical decisions about what’s next need to be answered. Those are important to think about and consider. It is okay for that to happen on your own timeline. Take your time. Make decisions that feel right for you and be okay with your unknown destination for a bit!
You Can Be Nervous
I am nervous and scared to be on a journey with an unclear, and yet to be determined destination. As much as I have typically known the direction of my life, I do not know where I am headed right now. Obviously not every detail, but generally I knew where I might be working, and what work I would be doing. Not knowing does give me some anxiety and I am also excited.
If you too are nervous about not knowing what comes next, that’s okay. I am using this nervousness to feed my motivation. The energy is real. For the purpose of using this energy, I can direct it toward helping me through the tough times. In other words, I can use it as motivation to keep moving forward. I trust it will all work out. The reality is, in my heart I know what I am doing is the right thing. I encourage others to listen to their heart even when we receive incomplete messages.
Enjoy the Journey to your Unknown Destination
I know you have heard that you should enjoy the journey. Again, this is true and I am reiterating this sentiment while hoping you will heed my advice and soak up the moments. The older I get, the more I realize it is in the quiet minutes of nothingness that real life occurs. I typically look forward to the next big thing and focus on where I am going. I don’t often observe all that is happening while I am heading to my destination. At this particular instant, I don’t know my steps other than being back in school. It is the perfect time to enjoy the path I am taking.
I am taking in the moments of walking across a college campus on a beautiful fall day. The content I am learning about the construction field is bringing me joy. I make sure to find reasons to be grateful. I am realizing how many great things I might have missed through the years. Now is the time to “stop and smell the roses.” This journey is amazing and I am enjoying it, even with an unknown destination.
As I said earlier, I know in my heart the path I am on is the right one. If I feel scared or nervous about my path, I stop and take a breath. There is a trust it will all work out and I am where I am meant to be. I trust me, my heart, and my decisions. It is not always a rock steady trust in me, sometimes I lean on my faith for further support. For me, it’s faith that God has a plan. It may be a plan I don’t understand and I keep the faith. If God is not your thing, I hope you’ll trust in you to take you where you need to be.
Our life paths wind, turn and flip out sometimes, we can and will land on our feet and figure it out. The first thing to remember, trust your heart and soul. It’s important to know we grow a great deal through the challenges. If you, like me, are becoming an even better version of yourself…trust that you’ve got this. If you need a minute to pause and center yourself, do it! Check this link out for a step by step how to in pushing pause! It makes a difference and will allow you to jump back in with your trust.
I believe in signs. You know, the signs that present themselves and help you determine or confirm things in your life? My experience has been I am so wrapped up in my thoughts and destination I miss the signs. That is why you need to pay attention, listen and learn. Slowing down to take it all in allows you to see things guiding you. Pay attention to these things and think about how they might be leading toward your unknown destination.
Keep Going, You’ve Got This
Here’s the thing, you (and I) can do this. Heading in a direction with an unclear destination is okay. After all, we are capable of doing hard things (thanks Glennon Doyle!)! There is nothing wrong with heading in a direction without a clear place to stop. We’ll figure out the details at some point and make a plan. Enjoying the journey and following the right path is most important.
If you have been feeling like you should be doing something new, head for the adventure! Especially if you don’t have it all figured out already, do it anyway! Embrace life’s journey, trust yourself and your path, be nervous and pay attention! And like always, keep going, you’ve got this!
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, its employees, sponsors, or affiliates.