“Do you ever feel like you’ve done enough, that you’ve prepared yourself as much as can be for future life? With varsity, camdram, societies and a genuine love for my degree, I’m terrified of being a jack of all trades and master of none...”

I was recently informed that being a ‘jack of all trades’ can, in fact, be construed as something positive. I looked it up for myself and discovered that the original version of the expression is: ‘a jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one’. Having lots of diverse interests is no bad thing and, in many ways, it makes you more prepared for your future. Enjoy the fact that you feel enthusiastic about so many things! You’re not confining yourself to one specific path – you can explore various interests at different points and adapt to what life throws at you. Why not keep your options open at this point? If you’re really worried about doing too much, then try to narrow things down without forcing yourself to focus on one particular area. Ask yourself what really matters to you. Which of your activities makes you happiest? Which ones can you truly see yourself continuing in the future? Perhaps choose two or three things and really throw yourself into them. The beautiful thing about student life is that a door is never closed for long; each term can be a fresh start, and a chance to try something new or take an interest even further.

Whatever it is that you’re doing with your time here, I can assure you that it is enough.

Pondering the future can be both incredibly exciting and horribly daunting and I think it’s safe to say that it’s something which worries us all. I completely understand the need to feel as prepared as possible – that urge to control events that we know nothing about – but it’s not always feasible. From my experience, however much we plan, dream, or wish, things rarely turn out exactly as we might have imagined - and life is all the more interesting for it! That is not to say that you shouldn’t consider the direction your life will take. If you have a goal, then please pursue it with passion, but if you don’t, there’s plenty of time for you to discover it. There is so much pressure to have everything figured out already, and for finalists across the university being plagued by nightmarish questions about their plans for next year: I would like to remind both those asking the questions, and those forced to answer them, that what you choose to do upon leaving university does not have to define the rest of your life. Whatever your plans are, whether you are waltzing off into your dream job, trying something new, or taking some time to work things out: you will be fine.


Mountain View

An Ode to Being Directionless

Here in Cambridge we’re surrounded by extremely driven people, many of whom have grand aspirations and detailed maps of their future directions and destinations. It can all start to feel like one big CV building competition. Try to remind yourself that it’s not. It’s not good for anyone to compare themselves with that one person who’s in every show, and rows for their college, and sings in a choir, and is on the JCR, and attends every networking event, and regularly visits the Cambridge pub/club/park of their choice, all on top of an enormous workload. Whatever it is that you’re doing with your time here, I can assure you that it is enough.

It is so important to bring our focus back to the here and now. In the future, will you be grateful to your former self for being so preoccupied with what happens next, or will you wish that you had just carpe’d that diem and made the most of the opportunities that presented themselves? The best advice I can give is to fill your time with what you enjoy at this moment, rather than what you think will look good later on. This is the perfect time to experiment with your established interests and to try new things that appeal to you, whatever they may be. Who knows what lessons you will learn, what skills you will acquire and which activities you might return to one day. Every single one of our experiences, big or small, prepares us for the future in some way.

Need some advice?

Write anonymously to our student advice team with any worries or troubles for a chance to appear in the next AskVulture piece.