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I don't know what I'm doing.

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
(I don't know what forum this should be in, mods move it if you want)

I asked on here about not applying to university, and everyone on here, my teachers and my parents basically told me that even if I didn't want to go, I should make a good application anyway, as a backup plan or whatever. I ignored everyone (don't know whether this was a good decision, but it's too late now) and decided not to apply on the basis of a) I wanted to study modern languages, which could be better done by being in foreign countries... b) the only reason I wanted to study modern languages is because I didn't know what else to do ..and c) the thought of signing over four years of my life to another institution/more education really scared me (this was the main reason, and probably the most ridiculous.)

So now I'm looking through au pair agencies to apply for a position as an au pair. I want to go to Los Angeles, my mum says I should go to Paris, on the basis that Paris is relatively close to home which would be important as I'll only just be 18 and I'd learn French. If I'm being honest, the only reason I want to go to LA is because I've spent way too much time watching films and listening to music and thinking that California would be a cool place to live. I can't decide whether it would be better to do something constructive for my future/career etc. (Paris) or something that I just really want to do because I'm young and I can (LA). I think it's a good start that I'm doing something constructive by looking at agencies, but I just don't know what I'm doing at all. So I'll spend a year looking after someone's kids, and then what? One of my teachers made me promise that I'd be special, and that I wouldn't end up just doing something rubbish and boring. I'm just really scared that I'll end up working in a supermarket in Plymouth for years and just doing rubbish nothingy things. I don't think I'm even talking about jobs really, so much as just life.

Having so much empty space ahead of me is really scaring me. Lots of people are trying to get me to see all of this choice and opportunity as a blessing, not a curse, but it only ever seems positive like that when I'm daydreaming, not when I'm planning/being logical.

I don't really know what I'm talking about, so I don't think there's much scope for actual advice, but if anyone has anything useful to say I'd really like to hear it. Even if it's just telling me I'm proper stupid for ignoring everyone's advice.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey grace,

    I really feel for what you're going through at the moment, figuring out what you want to do can be really confusing :confused:

    Just because you haven't applied for uni this time around it doesn't mean that door is forever closed. You didn't apply for a reason, you might not be able to pin point what it was, you mention a few things stopped you from doing it but that's ok. If it didn't feel right then it didn't feel right. Plenty of people take time out and go to uni when they're really certain about what to study. Straight from school or college it can be as much about the 'uni experience' as it is about the course you chose.

    It also takes lots of people a fair amount of time to feel drawn to a particular path, right now you're young and you do have a lot of different potential paths to take so it's always going to be hard to figure out which is right. It does seem like the world is your oyster but then you actually have to chose something to do and that can be scary, what if I make the wrong choice or what if I don't enjoy it? It's likely you'll go through a bit of trial and error but the first step is actually making that first decision and from there things will follow.

    If you're interested in nannying then keep talking to the agencies, have an informal chat with a few, see what more you can learn and do some research into how you could realistically live in LA. What kind of visa might you need? How long could you go for? Another option would be to volunteer overseas if that's something you're interested in?

    If you know in yourself that you don't want to end up in a Plymouth supermarket then it's unlikely that you will ;) Not everyone is lucky enough to have a clear idea of what they want to do and in fact most of us probably don't or at least it took time to develop. Experiences like travel, going to uni or volunteering help open our eyes to new things and potential careers so at this stage perhaps it's more about having new experiences?

    I hope I haven't just added to your confusion by presenting more options but the main thing is try not to worry too much about what everyone else thinks or what you feel you 'should' be doing at this time in your life.

    Next Step have a free careers and learning helpline and you can also email them if you're looking to find out more about possible work or learning opportunities: https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk/Contactus/Pages/default.aspx

    Prospects also has a useful section on working abroad: http://www.prospects.ac.uk/working_abroad.htm

    Let us know how you get on :heart:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Why are your two choices only LA or Paris? Why not somewhere else?

    My main advice is to bite the bullet and go do it whilst you are young. It is an unforgettable experience, and what you learn will help you in your future life. The things you learn about yourself whilst living abroad are incredibly useful for your future career.

    However, I would say that living in LA is unlikely to help you with modern languages. For that, go to a country which does not have English as its main language.

    I studied modern languages at uni. The structured method of learning and the time I spent abroad (1.3 years in total) really helped me out and did loads for me. I also didn't know what I wanted to do, and I'm now in a position where I've managed and successfully completed one 18-month project straight after my master's degree and am about to embark on another major project, both in the area of interpreter training.

    However, your main reason for not signing onto uni suggests that you need to take the gap year and get your head around what you really wanna do. Where do you wanna go with languages? they open up a whole world for you. Do you want to work abroad? Become an interpreter? teach languages? Translate? Look after key accounts in other countries? Be part of a multilingual sales team? Work for an international development NGO?

    You can always head out to take your au pair job, really work on your languages, and make the application for uni whilst you're away. Why not combine your language with something like management, or business studies, or international development depending on what you are interested in? Have you looked at doing something like the Leonardo Da Vinci scheme within the EU?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Firstly (and this one will piss you off) you're only young. However, this one might not piss you off so much. That means that you're actually pretty limited in the mistakes you can make. At your stage in life you can put a lot of things down to being good life experience and learning life skills even if it's not a direct tick on the list to your end goal. This is handy, especially if like most people you haven't got a definite end goal in sight.

    What do you want to do with the next year? To me, based off your very limited posts it seems to me that a) you'd like to go to the states and b) you're interested in modern languages. If you read that and think I've got you all wrong - then use that as a prompt to yourself to see what you think yuo'd like to correct me on.

    At 18, do something vaguely constructive and completely legal that you want to do. Ideally not glamour modelling or porn. You won't really be limiting your future options.

    One thind that you might not have considered - work at an American holiday camp this summer and then do a year as an au pair in France. That way you get the USA, especially if you tag a couple of weeks on the end to go travelling a bit. You get the au pair and you get lthe language. You also do the shorter trip a long way away from home, and the year somewhere that's easier to go back and forth from.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear

    One thind that you might not have considered - work at an American holiday camp this summer and then do a year as an au pair in France. That way you get the USA, especially if you tag a couple of weeks on the end to go travelling a bit. You get the au pair and you get lthe language. You also do the shorter trip a long way away from home, and the year somewhere that's easier to go back and forth from.

    Great idea - I'd also just add that California is an interesting State overall, but LA is a bit of a crazy place and not really how the movies potray it (I lived there for 4 months) and can be quite isolating, so going there for a couple of months first of all (or even just on a holiday) could be a good idea. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thank you for all the advice!

    I've got a job as an au pair in Paris for a year, so I'll think about what I want to do next during or after that, because I still have absolutely no idea.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Congrats on your job. If you want to move on from that, and see some of the world - I have a friend who reminds me of you, who is seeing a lot of the world by working on cruise ships, which you might consider.

    The message from your teacher must have been a little muddled, I'm sure they meant that you're special, whatever you do :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    katralla wrote: »
    Congrats on your job. If you want to move on from that, and see some of the world - I have a friend who reminds me of you, who is seeing a lot of the world by working on cruise ships, which you might consider.

    The message from your teacher must have been a little muddled, I'm sure they meant that you're special, whatever you do :D

    Thanks! I already thought about cruise ships, but I get really sea sick so I'd be a rubbish worker and have a rubbish time. It's a shame really because it sounds pretty cool, but there's nothing to be done.

    ps. lovely to see you back :heart:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I get really sea-sick on little boats, but am fine on the larger liners. Why don't you try the boat (if possible in some way!) to see how you react?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Purple_roo wrote: »
    I get really sea-sick on little boats, but am fine on the larger liners. Why don't you try the boat (if possible in some way!) to see how you react?

    I've chundered on every boat I've been on including big ferries :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Grace wrote: »
    Thanks! I already thought about cruise ships, but I get really sea sick so I'd be a rubbish worker and have a rubbish time. It's a shame really because it sounds pretty cool, but there's nothing to be done.

    ps. lovely to see you back :heart:

    Aw, it's lovely to communicate with you again. I still remember you chastising me (in a teasing way I'm sure) for mixing up advise and advice, chuckles.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I leave in two weeks and I'm scared absolutely shitless. I've go no idea what possessed me to move to a country where I don't know a single person.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Grace wrote: »
    I leave in two weeks and I'm scared absolutely shitless. I've go no idea what possessed me to move to a country where I don't know a single person.

    Nail. Head. I'm wishing I wasn't going.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Unflithen wrote: »
    Nail. Head. I'm wishing I wasn't going.

    Ooh, where are you going?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Grace

    sorry to post a bit late hehe :)

    I think you're doing the right thing going to Paris; when I went it was really really beautiful (apart from St. Dennis) and it's kind of metropolitan; indepedent + really cool; I think you should read the book Nobody's girl - it's a teen girlie book so I think you'll really enjoy it plus the main bit's set in Paris.

    I also think that LA is very much glamourized when I spoke to my dad cus he went there some time ago he said that there is a section of LA that is really "cool" and everyone's amazing (like the movies) but there's also guns; knifes + major crime. Plus you want to experience life but not be too far away, I am so jealous of you right now! Have an amazing time xxx
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Grace wrote: »
    I leave in two weeks and I'm scared absolutely shitless. I've go no idea what possessed me to move to a country where I don't know a single person.

    I moved to menorca for a job where I didn't know anybody at all, there was a moment after getting there and unpacking all my stuff in the wardrobes etc where I sat on the bed and just thought 'what the hell have I done?'. it was a scary moment but I just tried to get on with it, everybody was lovely and welcoming and I ended up having the most amazing time. it is very scary but I don't think you will regret it :)
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    I moved to menorca for a job where I didn't know anybody at all, there was a moment after getting there and unpacking all my stuff in the wardrobes etc where I sat on the bed and just thought 'what the hell have I done?'. it was a scary moment but I just tried to get on with it, everybody was lovely and welcoming and I ended up having the most amazing time. it is very scary but I don't think you will regret it :)

    :yes: agreed. Was going to say something similar. The nerves are completely natural Grace, it is scary - there's no getting away from that. However, it's an adventure and that's what life should be about. *hug*
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