Future Anxiety

by Şebnem YAREN

Hey there! Sorry to break it to you, but this month’s Present & Chill may not necessarily ‘chill’ you out. However, it is a topic that needs to be discussed from time to time, especially in our generation, and that is future anxiety. Whether you are enrolled in a university, a high school or middle school right now, you have received some type of education throughout most of your life. This path of constant education that we are receiving is designed to lead us all to somewhere in life, it is specifically planned out for us to have the necessary qualities to obtain a ‘job’ in the future. The reason why I put quotations around the word ‘job’ is because it is the term that initiates this anxiety about our future.


The journey of deciding on and pursuing a job is the part that boosts up this anxiety feeling. Most people during their university life realize that they are not content with what they are studying, which is very common and understandable since we choose what to ‘do’ for the rest of our lives at the age of eighteen. Students go through their ideas in their head on how to escape this feeling, what they can do instead of what is asked of them, is it worth it to quit what they are currently pursuing, or what is the best option for them to pursue in the first place, is anything that they are willing to pursue is enough to make a living off of (which is usually the most common concern), etc. All these questions that run through their mind cause dissatisfaction which usually results in a depressive episode and the decline of both academic and social life for the student. They get anxiety because of their grades falling, their friends getting internships, the explanation that their family is asking of them, trying to make ends meet with their current income of any sort and how long that is going to last, etc. All this uncertainty seriously messes up the student’s most fruitful years.


Following up, even if someone decides to do something they enjoy, the dilemma of money vs. pleasure comes in. The concept of having a job and earning money to make a living differs for anyone with various interests; usually students’ distinctive interests like theater, debate, sports, etc. do not have a clear path to a regular income in most countries. This results in the student being left between what they enjoy, and what is going to make more money for a comfortable life. This dilemma may damage a young adult since they tend to be more emotional than their older family members who mostly encourage them to take the ‘money’ path and can cause severe anxiety and stress to the point where they cannot concentrate on their current academic life or any of their possible-career-path extracurriculars from thinking about their limited choices too much.


In conclusion, whether you have a clear idea of what you want to do or not, the future anxiety that the economy, limited choices, and all external and internal factors form in all our minds seems inescapable, but it is not. The only way to prevent it the most you can is to get professional help when you find yourself in these situations. Whether it be a school counselor, a psychologist, or an expert on your career choices; reaching out to these people around you can save you so much uneasy times from your best years, while helping you get through the process and decide. Of course, these pleasant outcomes do not happen overnight or all the time. It is a hard, long, and uncomfortable process that you should be willing to go through, for you to receive and process the help that you are getting to the best of your benefit. At the end of the day, as long as you realize that this is your life and you are not going to get back the time you are wasting being anxious and nervous; you will have the courage to get up in the morning and knock on the door of help. It will not be easy or quick, but you deserve the best for your own life; and you have the strength to overcome your future anxiety, just like the millions of people around the world who are just like you.