Written by Zahara Almira Ramadhan, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia
Have you ever felt stuck in the pandemic? Online classes, working from home, and limited outdoor activities can certainly make you feel like your potentials are not growing as they should, right?
It’s no joke that mental health problems have been rising ever since the pandemic. With the loss of real-life interactions with social peers, children and young adults are experiencing drastic changes within their daily activities. Lack of motivation, anxiety, depression, and self-doubt are only some of the common issues found among young people. With so much existing pressure at a young age, your future eventually becomes the subject in question, doesn’t it?
Is there any future for me in this virtual life?
The answer is definitely a yes. There are actually a handful of opportunities waiting for you at the very second you are reading this. You might think that you’ve lost the opportunity to explore the world, but look at the bright side of what digitalization has brought to us! Meaningful programs such as virtual internships and workshops are open 24/7 for you to dive in without sacrificing your academic responsibilities. You can even apply for programs that are originally held in another city or even other countries! Think about it, you can start working towards your future career without worrying about splitting your body into two different places, literally.
If you are still unsure of where to start (or even starting at all), worry not. Let us guide you through some steps on building your future throughout the pandemic.
Set your goals
The first step is to set your goals. You will always be clueless about your future if you haven’t sat down and thought about your goals. What do you want to do after you graduate? Where do you want to be five years from now? What are your passions?
A wise man once told me to set SMARTER goals, in which each letter stands by its own contribution.
- Specific instead of being too broad and general.
- Meaningful. It has to be meaningful for you.
- Achievable. Make sure you can actually reach the goal.
- Relevant. Make it relevant to your values, beliefs, and life purposes.
- Time-Based. Pick a time for your goal to be achieved, such as October 2022 or any other date.
- Evaluative. You have to evaluate your goals as time goes by.
- Re-evaluation. If it turns out that you are not making progress, you need to make changes to the goal itself or to the ways you approach it.
Goal-setting can be hard for some people, though. If you find it hard to answer those questions and get specific enough in one sitting, you can always take another time to think about it. This is your future we are talking about, not a due-tomorrow assignment. You can always jot down your ideas one by one, day by day.
Develop your skills
Once your goals are set, you need to decide your ways toward achieving those goals. What skills do you need in order to reach your goals? How can you gain those skills?
During the pandemic, you can gain various skills by joining virtual programs that are available out there, such as:
- Internships. An internship is a wonderful place to earn skills by handling specific tasks and projects, and you can even get paid for it!
- Volunteering activities. A volunteering activity gives you a way to learn and earn certain skills while giving back to your community, the environment, or even the world.
- Online courses. You can learn at your own pace at any time of the day, and most lecture videos can be played multiple times. Some of the courses are even free, and you can earn a certificate as your credibility badge.
- Workshops or webinars. Many interesting experts are speakers in demand for workshops and webinars, so it would be a great opportunity to learn from the experts themselves. Plus, you can ask questions during the Q&A session.
- Online competitions. You can turn your interests into a proven skill by joining competitions such as debate, scientific papers, or business innovations competitions.
- Student clubs or non-profit organizations. Clubs and organizations need structural and functional positions in which you can acquire skills from.
Pro tip: start keeping an eye on your local or international NGOs. Most NGOs constantly need volunteers and interns for their projects and functional positions. Take Project Child Indonesia as an example, we always need young people like you to help us establish a better place for children. See our newest recruitment on our website.
Commit to your plans
Last but not least, commitment is the seal-the-deal step in building your future. Your goals and plans could crumble at any moment if you don’t have a sense of commitment. So, how do you commit to your plans?
Start small. If you have never committed to a project before, I would say short-period ones might be best for you. For instance, instead of registering for a 6-months-long volunteer program as your first experience, try considering a 3-months program first. This way, it is easier for you to stick to the activities.
It is also important to think about the long-term benefits of your plans. Let’s say you choose to develop your targeted skills by joining an internship program. You won’t only gain technical skills from the tasks, but also soft skills and networks from the social environment. All of those benefits don’t have an expiration date, meaning that they can help you in many aspects of your future!
All in all, those are three steps on building your future, even in the midst of the pandemic. I know that the pandemic has been giving us a really hard time, but there is no such thing as “having no future” for young people like us. We still have plenty of time to grow our potentials to its maximum capacity by setting our goals, developing targeted skills, and committing to our plans. Remember to invest as much time as you need during the process, and good luck!