The future: what happens next?

Now that exams are over for many of us, Iona discusses her thoughts on approaching the future.

By Iona Craig

Driven by uncertainty I look into next year tentatively; its unknown and blurry. Everything is about to change. And after the last couple of years plagued by COVID, a break from change wouldn’t go unnoticed. Time propels us forward even if we are dragging our heals; or quite the opposite, wishing the months away, we are unable to change where we are at.

As the future approaches to become the present we are faced with decisions for next year. Decision making in animal groups is an interesting process, often driven by what close social members decide to do with little outlook on what the overall outcome will be of following the group. As humans, we rarely get the option to watch at what our best friend, neighbour or course mates are doing and simple follow, at least once we have left primary where I’m pretty sure I would only do what my best friend was doing! We must instead plan or stubble into our own route and often this takes some thinking.

A group of penguins
Animals often make decisions as a group. Image credit: Pixabay

“There are two kinds of people; those who are leaving next year and those who are not”. I thought about this for a moment as someone who is in fact in neither of these groups with certainty. I might be leaving next year and I also might not be. As many a finalist is, I am waiting to hear back from applications which will dictate my plans for next year. The initial loathing that built up for every ‘Why do you want this role?’ question posed during application time had subsided and left a feeling of vulnerability at the thought of the decision moving to someone else’s hands. Even writing applications seems somewhat more appealing than waiting now.

I think I agree with the words of my friend however; I think the cohort can be divided into two groups. There are those who know what they are doing next year and those who don’t. I’ve been witness to conversations about detailed room designs and others who don’t seem to realise 2023 is a thing. Or that university ends and you have to sort of, well, do something. Some people are planning to travel, while others are sticking with education and a lucky few already have the scent of a pay check coming their way. Financial independence. Maybe even a non-discounted M&S meal? It is becoming ever so easy to listen to what others are doing and feel a sense of panic begin to succumb at the unknown prospects of what will happen next. So, what can you do to prepare yourself for whatever happens next?

  1. Enjoy your time at university: it goes very quickly! With many weeks stolen by lockdown, more than ever, enjoying the time here is as important as preparing yourself for next year.
  2. Remind yourself you have options: there are always options, have a think what options you have and how each option aligns with where you want to be going.
  3. Life is fluid not permanent: it may seem as if you pick a choice now that will haunt you forever, but in reality wherever you end up or whatever you end up doing next year will be subject to change. You can try something and not like it. You can also try something and love it.
  4. Give yourself thinking time: there is a lot to process, so give yourself time to process it! Whether this be consciously, unconsciously or verbally, letting yourself think and process what you are feeling, or not feeling about the future!
  5. Acceptance: and a final reminder to remember wherever you are at with planning next year; whether you haven’t even thought about it or you know what you will be doing every 9am on Wednesdays, know it is okay and there is no rush to be anywhere else.

The future will come when it comes, with its uncertainty and surprises, regardless of whether we want it to hurry up or slow down. Know you are where you are meant to be and face the next chapter courageously.

What are your plans for next year? Do you know yet, or is it all still a little uncertain? Let us know your plans (or ask us any questions) in the comments below, by tweeting us @warwicklibary or emailing us at

Header Image: Javier Allegue Barros

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