Dear No One: So what?

Dear No One,

Lately, when I talk to fellow students, I always hear the same story over and over again: ‘It was like time has been taken from me,’ ‘I have never been more unproductive in my life,’ ‘Nothing has gone according to plan, not even remotely.’ Mind you, all of these students’s feelings and opinions are valid. If these negative emotions become too heavy a burden to bear, I would highly recommend for students to make an appointment with the university psychologist to help lighten the load. But in addition to this I would like to offer an insight that greatly helped me cope with similar thoughts and feelings regarding my professional life. It might help you too. 

This particular insight came to me when I was scrolling through Linkedin. I saw people working jobs in cities I had always wanted to travel to, I saw students studying master’s degrees in universities I had never heard about, and I even saw a few entrepreneurs starting their startups of which I still don’t fully understand its business plan. For a moment, I felt like I had achieved  nothing, whilst simultaneously feeling exhausted realising all the things I had to do. And then it hit me. Two magical words that made all of my worries fade away. So what?

There are three things to keep in mind when applying the phrase ‘So what?’ when pondering on your career.

  1. The question and the answer should only involve your own life. Other people don’t know how or why things matter to you. Don’t try to fill it in for them either, because you don’t always know their deepest hopes for their work.
  1. If something holds meaning to you, it is automatically worth 1000x more than anything else. The fact that you deem some dreams so important to be goals should be reason enough to work towards making them a reality.
  1. Always try to answer the question with a bit of hopefulness. Try being that  younger, more trusting version of yourself when assessing the current situation. Somehow, you will end up exactly where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to trust the process.

For example:

Things didn’t go according to your plan, so what? Take a moment to sulk and then try to make a new plan. For what it’s worth, working through these ups and downs might make for a great story later on.

You didn’t get the job, so what? There is probably another offer in another company that might be better suited for you and your skills. Just keep applying, because it’s all you can do right now. 

You weren’t as productive as you could’ve been, so what? If you make sure to work a little harder tomorrow, there shouldn’t be any issue with taking a break today. Give yourself some time, you’re a person, not a robot.

Mind you, the ‘So what?’ method should not serve as an excuse to lose all sense of discipline, nor should it be a way to talk yourself out of taking chances.  I’m not telling you about this method so you can be a bitter nihilist, nor am I asking you to become an overly confident optimist. But I am telling you that occasionally using the phrase ‘So what?’ can help put things in perspective.

One year ago, the world turned upside down and it felt as if life tried to push people further away from reaching their goals. I am not going to tell you to stop trying to make things happen. I would just like to remind you that you shouldn’t have to wait for society’s validation for achieving a certain goal to value your professional life. Time will pass and eventually some opportunities will come in. You should just try to be ready when they do. You will get there, I know you will. And even if you don’t, if you haven’t gotten there as fast as you’d like, if that opportunity is abruptly taken away from you, if you didn’t even get your foot in the door, just keep in mind; So what? 

I hope this will help you.

Love,

Warsha Autar

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Find us on Instagram @basis.baismag

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