Question: I’m terrified of life going on and school ending. What do I do?

Dear Phyllis (and other readers who probably feel the same way sometimes..): I am feeling so lost I don’t know what to do with myself! I am finishing my senior year in high school in just a few months, and I am so depressed and I don’t know what I want to do with my life! I know this is something most kids worry about when they finish high school… but I live in Israel, where most kids go to the army when they’re 18 so there’s really nothing to think about… you know future and everything… they will still have 2 years at least before they have to start thinking about what they want to do with their lives. But I’ve decided not to go to the army, so I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life! I’m so scared of finishing school and sad about not seeing everybody every day, and what if I lose touch with my friends?? I don’t want that to happen! I’! ve always wanted to go to college in the States (since I’m American), but I still want to spend a year here in Israel before I go, and I don’t know what to do during that year, and I’m scared of losing my friends when I leave.. I can’t stop thinking about this all the time! I’m terrified of life going on and school ending. What do I do?

PHYLLIS Replied:
I wonder what it is that really frightens you, because: 1. You’re afraid of losing your friends but you don’t want to enter the army, where most of them are going; 2. Most of them will have two years to think about the rest of their lives, but you want to know now; 3. You want to go to college in the States but you don’t want to go now; 4. You want to spend a year in Israel but don’t know what to do there. How about this: Give yourself a year to put big decisions on hold. For that year, give yourself over completely to volunteer work of any kind. Figure out what tasks you do best, what you enjoy doing the most, and see if some volunteer organization can use your talent. You have email and a cell phone, right? The postal service? You can stay in touch with friends ! if you really want to, and they will enjoy hearing from someone who is doing something different from their daily routines. You will find out how good you are at accepting mundane assignments; at dealing with people less fortunate than you are; at creatively solving problems, making difficult decisions, and so much more. At the end of that year, you may find you have skills you didn’t know about. You may be able to separate one choice of career from another, and you may feel even closer to some of the friends you don’t see every day. Sometimes, really, we find that the more we concentrate on other people, the more we discover about ourselves.

Posted on: February 6, 2009


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