We’re often reminded that our twenties are the “best years of your life.” This notion must be one of the most common phrases we hear. So, here’s a new notion, going through your twenties can still be challenging despite it being the best years. Deciding what we want to do with our future can be both incredibly daunting and exciting. I’m here to tell you it’s okay if you don’t exactly know what you want to do, and how you can make the most of your short and sweet (does NOT feel short sometimes) time at uni. Everyone will make mistakes, and everyone will experience the common diagnosis of imposter syndrome at some point. Let’s also not forget the past few years has been an abundance of lockdowns and painfully awkward breakout rooms on zoom.

macbook with gmail open on web browser

I feel as though I don’t ‘really know what I am doing,’ but nonetheless I will share my thoughts of my student life, to provide some clarity as my time at university concludes. So, here are my top four tips for navigating this time:

  1. Make the most of the student lifestyle

Three years into my degree of Journalism and Communications and I am expected to graduate at the end of next year – I don’t consider myself ready for the big bad world. Even though I think I have embodied what it truly means to be a university student: consuming more tuna and rice and mi goreng noodles than what’s humanly possible, seen “do not start this assignment the night before” as a challenge not a guideline, and watched an actual Ibis steal and devour someone’s whole subway (I wish that last part wasn’t true either). A special mention to jacaranda szn.

Despite achieving all these pressing activities, having spare time from being a student is a great way to experience different aspects of your industry. This is a great way to meet industry professionals and reduce career options that you might not enjoy. Most companies will have an interning or work experience program, and it absolutely does not hurt to ask.

  1. Post on LinkedIn

When I was first introduced to LinkedIn, I thought I had entered a whole new realm, however I became invested. This is a really great way to connect with people from the industry and understand more about their business. I know multiple people who have also gained internships and jobs from this platform. So, absolutely do post when you achieve a new milestone in your career. Lap it up when your friends hype you up in the comments.

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Embarrassingly, prior to starting university my most daunting decision OF ALL was choosing my degree. I look back and cringe at myself for having this level of stress over something that now seems so miniscule. This feeling was intensified by the biggest ultimatum of all – do I have a ‘find yourself’ gap year in Europe? Or delve into a degree I was suggested to do from my schools’ careers counsellor? This decision felt like my entire identity would be solidified from what path I chose. I remember waiting for my OP result and regretting every English class I missed because a nap at the sick bay seemed more appealing.

In hindsight, something that seemed so monumental turned out to be quite easy to navigate through. I’m sure this same reflection process will occur when I look back at my time as a student. If you don’t get the grade you wanted, or missed a deadline, it’s okay your employer in 10 years’ time will not hold this against you. To be frank, stress less.

  1. Enjoy your 20s

My favourite author Dolly Alderton once described this period as the ‘golden grubby years.’

Amongst the tumultuous times as a student, don’t forget to have a healthy balance of doing things you enjoy. Maintaining your social life and hobbies during this time will keep your sanity in check! Embrace the grubby moments of testing how far your car can run on 0kms because you can’t afford petrol. But while there are grubby moments, learn to embrace and appreciate the golden moments of spending time with your friends out in the city.

In summary, it’s okay not to have a clue what you are doing, or if you don’t have a graduate position lined-up. There is so much pressure in knowing what you are meant to do as a 20-something-year-old, we’re told to intern, network, and most importantly write regular (absolutely not cringe) posts on LinkedIn. So, enjoy the times with your friends, the 2am Uni grind sessions, the controversial discussions on UQ stalkerspace, cause ultimately, we only get to do it once.