By Mia Tuason

Edited by Ioana Hárátau

When I first began primary school in 2011, universities, BACs, and careers seemed too far into the future. Now, they are nearing. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would differ – a doctor, a dentist, a teacher, or even a dancer. Throughout my childhood, I’ve dreamed of becoming many things. Yet, to this day, I still have no clue about what I want to do with my life. Those I know have told me that I have an entire year to think about it, but to me, a year goes by faster than a speeding bullet. 

Illustration by Brina Gulič

Before starting S6, several teachers would remind my classmates and I that the last two years of secondary are crucial. It is the time that we must begin reflecting on our choices and what we want to achieve in the future. This means taking school very, very seriously. Furthermore, we, S6 students, are the “guinea pigs” of the new syllabus and, undoubtedly, we are expected to excel academically.  

I am currently in S6 and in about a year, my peers and I will be taking the BACs. Soon, we will bid each other farewell before we each go on our own separate ways. We have about a year and a half left to prepare ourselves to decide on what we want to do in the future. When we think of the BACs, the first thing that comes to our minds is, of course, passing them. “It’s the one test that matters most and our future depends on that,” says Lana Markulin, who fears that she won’t succeed, like many of us. In addition to that, we also think of the choices we will need to make directly after – “Which university do I go to? Where? What should I study?”  

I would sit in front of my laptop, looking at different universities and their admission requirements, wondering how it would be possible to fulfil them all, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. In no time, we will all choose which path to take, and of course, we don’t want to have any regrets. “To go to university, or to not go to university? What am I going to do in my professional life? What if I make the wrong choice?” These are just some of the countless questions towering over us – questions still unanswered. To say the least, it is daunting to think about, and it can, at times, be overwhelming.  

There is a lot of pressure coming from the people around us, and from ourselves as well, to make the right decision. After all, we are the ones who decide which path we’ll follow. The responsibility of having our futures in the palms of our hands can be a heavy weight to carry. For example, it may seem “obvious” to study subjects we’re good at or subjects that interest us, but some may remain unsure. There are also people who have a definite vision of what they want to do but there are others who do not, and that too can cause quite a lot of pressure. “It’s the anticipation and fear that makes it so stressful. Right now, it all just seems overwhelming. But when you get to that point, if you have a clear plan that you stick to, it won’t be so challenging,” says Lana. 

It is not easy to make a decision. It is an exceptionally lengthy process that involves knowing yourself and knowing your hopes and dreams. We often rely on the suggestions and encouragement of the people around us. However, we cannot just base our decisions on what people think is “best” for us.  

On top of everything I’ve mentioned, it is still important to take some time off, to rest, and to breathe. Despite all intention to pursue excellence, we should still enjoy our youth. In five years or ten, secondary school will be a mere memory of our adolescence. Truly, time flies by very, very quickly. Just a few years ago, I was in S3 without a care in the world. We should enjoy every step of the journey, even if some parts can be stress-inducing. No one knows what the future will bring. There are no specific “instructions” on knowing what is best for our future. This journey of choosing our “next big step” marks a life changing moment. 

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