Growing up, kids were taught to always have a plan. No matter what they were doing, there would be a outline to follow, template to guide them. Essays, class schedules, and eventually career paths were all given a form to follow. But why? Life doesn’t work in one format, it throws you curveballs, hills to climb, and challenges to overcome. You should always have somewhat of a plan, but if it doesn’t work out, it isn’t the end of the world. Never limit yourself to one plan, one action, and one goal. Sometimes the best things in life aren’t planned.
You hear about people with four year plans for college, 10 year plans for their 20s, and so on. While it’s good to have a plan, sometimes you end up trapped in your plan. You force yourself to follow the guidelines you set so closely that you miss out on so many other opportunities in the end. There’s a right way to do things, whether it’s going to a four year college, interning each summer, and then going to law school, med school, or grad school, that’s a great general plan. Don’t lock yourself into a plan where you know exactly what companies you need to intern with, what college you need to go to, and what your next level education needs to be. If you look back at your life at this exact moment, you will realize that you didn’t do everything according to plan.
When I look back, I never planned to be where I am, but I’m more than ok with that. Life happens, plans change, and that’s something everyone has to learn to accept. Don’t confine yourself, it will end up hurting you more than benefiting you in the end.
Go outside of your comfort zone. Don’t let yourself continue with the same internships over and over, don’t take the same courses each semester, and don’t allow yourself to remain in one place forever. Embrace change, work outside of the box, allow yourself to discover new things about yourself. That’s when the real magic occurs. As a person, you will always be growing, you will always be changing. By taking a course in women studies, you may not become a feminist, but you may realize that our country isn’t as equal as everyone thinks it is. Accepting an internship that isn’t in your career path doesn’t mean you need to change your entire life plan, but it means you get to learn something new and gain a new sets of skills. By traveling abroad or going someplace new, you aren’t altering your decision to live in whatever city you originally planned, you’re learning about other places, becoming more cultured, and growing as a person.
If you don’t allow yourself to experience new things, you aren’t progressing in life. Limiting yourself is like getting caught in quicksand. No matter how much progress you think you are making, you’re actually sinking down and remaining in the same place. Change doesn’t have to be drastic, it’s healthy to have a little change in your life. You will grow, in ways you could have never imagined. No plan is set in stone. You have control over your life, it’s your life after all. Be courageous and go after an internship you don’t think you’ll get, travel abroad for a semester or summer, take a class that is out of the ordinary. You’ll learn so much about yourself that you wouldn’t know about otherwise.
Setting a limit for yourself is putting yourself in a box. You’ll be content with where you are, but you never know what’s on the outside. Break the mold and do something daring. Don’t set limits, challenge them.