A Student Was Asked What Her Fears Are For The Future. Her Response is Relatable to All.

Student Vanessa Leung shares the three uncertainties that many millennials are facing.

This feeling stems from a basic primeval fear we all have within ourselves. Since the Stone Age, cavemen would face continual uncertainty about which wild animal they would capture tomorrow. Today, our more civilized society attempts to minimize this feeling through the creation of insurance — unemployment insurance, credit card insurance, life insurance, etc. On a more relevant scale for us university students, the concept of an ideal, steady, so-called “secure” job is created and it has been perceived as the insurance for most students in the competitive market today.

Before I begin, I would like to disclaim that I do not intend to generalize all university students and this discussion is simply a personal reflection and observation of my university life.

As this confined ideology of “secured job = success” develops, it leads to this discussion about the biggest fear as a university student in today’s competitive market. This is broken down into three components: unemployment, employment and losing a sense of purpose.

All three components are interconnected and associated with this feeling of uncertainty. Here is how I see it:

  1. Unemployment

I believe this is a common fear amongst students as they prepare for life beyond university. The idea of not having a graduate offer brings insecurity to students. They become lost and unsure as to what they can do with their future. One top of that, today’s restricted belief of a “secured” job causes the constricted idea that the only way to success is through that job offer from those big firms. Hence, the idea of not having a job offer has become one of the biggest fears as a university student in the competitive market today.

2. Employment

Although unemployment is viewed as undesirable, the notion of employment also creates distress for university students. For example, it is almost a tradition for Commerce students to begin their process of internship application during their penultimate year. The successful candidates receive a graduate offer after the internship and the unsuccessful candidates continue to fight for a position in their final year. Consequently, the application process is no longer a procedure to achieve your dream job. It has become an intensive battlefield for students to prepare and compete against each other for that “secure” job.

Perhaps, calling this one of the ‘biggest fear’ is a hyperbole but university students are constantly dealing with issues related to employment and it doesn’t stop here. Students are learning about their specialized fields in universities, yet, we often realize later on that the real world experience is completely different from what we were taught. So, do we really know what we are applying for? The uncertainty about the future continues.

3. Losing a sense of purpose

This is by far, my biggest fear as a university student in today’s competitive market. Due to the perpetual tunnel vision for the “secure” job, university students may lose track of their passion and no longer remember their sense of purpose. Now, I am not saying that we must already know what our life purpose is right now. However, the singular focus for a stable job could create a restriction for students to focus on the short term. For example, are you joining a society because you are truly passionate about it or merely for that mention on your CV? Although, it is fine to see students participate in societies, which may aid their process of job seeking later on, it is also important for students to keep an open mind for their long-term goals. By doing so, it allows you to see where your short-term progress will ultimately take you in the bigger picture. For those who are not sure about their long-term goals, this mindset may even help you discover your passion in the process.

Overall, I perceive these three components as my concerns throughout university life. The ever so competitive market has directed students’ focus to that “secure” job in order to avoid the fear for an unknown future after university. Nonetheless, we may be able to avoid the uncertainty now but even Mother Nature herself is unstable and uncertain. Thus, it is more important for us to explore outside of our comfort zone rather than living by a rigidly constructed plan raised due to our fears.


Vanessa Leung, marketing/accounting student from UNSW, struck with wanderlust, a food enthusiast and a dreamer. Follow her food and travel advantures on Instagram (@vanessaleunggg) or her personal blog (itsvanessaleunggg.tumblr.com).

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