This month of I will be starting my next decade. My 20s were full of a lot of hard lessons. Some I learned fast; others took me a while. Overall, it’s fair to say my 20s did not go as I had thought they would.
When I was turning 20, I had no real goals for myself. I rarely thought beyond the next 24-hours or even the next hour. Day in and day out, all I did was what others — parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, siblings (both younger and older), friends and others — told me to do or not to do.
At 19, my long-term life plan was to follow the perfectly paved path of others. I thought I would meet my husband in university, get a full-time job, have a family and maybe go back to school in my late 20s for a masters in business.
The Perfectly Paved Road is a Myth
I didn’t find that perfectly paved path to life in my early twenties.
I changed my university degree three times. I started in engineering because I was good at math and physics in high school. In the first few weeks of university, I stopped eating and sleeping because I was struggling to do the assignments. I was mad at myself because as hard as I tried I couldn’t understand the calculus and physics that was being taught. I asked for help from my student advisor, leading to me changing to a forestry degree.
Forestry was okay, but I wanted to learn about the bigger picture. I was more interested in how every element of ecosystems works together to provide us with resources for free that are vital to our lives. Nature gives us clean air, water, food and resources to build and create with for free. So I choose to switch to the Environment and Natural Resources degree.
When I finished my Bachelor’s degree, it was anti-climatic. I remember being at my graduation feeling empty and like there had been a mistake in allowing me to be there. I didn’t know what was next. I definitely was not excited to be sitting there. That was the first time that I felt alone and invisible. I didn’t finish my bachelor’s degree with the job or the relationship or any future plans at all.
A year later, I returned to university for an international double masters program. I was convinced this program was my…