How to Live in a State of Uncertainty

by Laura Schluckebier

Uncertainty is a fact that exists in just about every state of our life, and it makes life both absolutely terrifying and absolutely incredible. If we knew everything that was going to happen to us, there’d be no sense of wonder. Of course, as a stressed out college student, sometimes I feel like saying, “to hell with this ‘sense of wonder’– tell me what the eff to do.”

Whether you’re a freshmen just entering the folds of university life or if you’re senior counting down the days until you’re booted out into the real world, uncertainty is a very real ruling factor in your life right now. As for me, I’m uncertain about where to apply to grad school, whether I should work before I go to school, what should be my area of focus. For freshmen, you’re uncertain about what classes to take, what you want to major in, how to make friends, and just about a bazillion other things.

There’s not a whole lot you can do while you’re in a limbo state of uncertainty and not knowing what you can do to set your life down on tangible ground is scary. To help you figure out what to do when you’re stuck in a state of uncertainty, here are a few tips.

Control What You Can Control

Life might be presenting you with a whole slew of situations and circumstances that you might have zero control over. When that happens and you feel everything spinning out of your grasp, forcus your attention on the things you can control. These things could be like your homework. You have your syllabus, so you can always know what is due. You can always stay on top of your grades and control that, even if you don’t know what you’re going to be doing in six months after graduation. You can also control your applications to jobs and schools.

For younger students, you can focus on homework, but also on club activities or on side projects like making and editing films, or doing some research with your professor. Whatever it is, find something you can control in your academic life and seize it.

Make Goals for Yourself

Goals give you direction in your life. Without any goals in a state of uncertainty, you’ll end up without any direction and without any idea of where you want to be or what you want to do. You may not know exactly how you’re going to get there or what you’ll be doing, but at least create a list of goals that you want to aspire to in the next year, two years, or five years.

Creating and realizing goals may actually help you put things in perspective. It will help you formulate a basic guideline or plan on how to attain those goals. But if you never give yourself goals, you’ll never have anything to plan for.

Stay Awesome

This is, indeed, a real suggestion. I have no idea where I’m going to be after graduation. You may have no idea what you’re going to major in.  You may have no idea what’s in store for you in this really hard class you signed up for this semester. But if you concentrate on your strengths, you are not going to let yourself down. Find what you are good at, what you are passionate about it, and put your stock in that. If you’re really good at computers, self-teach yourself stuff or join a computer forum or club at school. If you’re really good at writing, create a blog, talk to other writers, join a writers guild to have your work critiqued.

Whatever you’re passionate about, stick with it. Successful people are passionate people. Whenever situations become too full of uncertainity that they start to become overwhelming, you’ll always have your skills and passions to fall back on. These passions can be what make you marketable for jobs or can even help you decide what you want to do in school.

What do you do in times of uncertainty? How do you cope with it? Let us know in the comments!

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