Why I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing.

Quick background: I packed my U-Haul on my 18th birthday and drove here from Seattle. I started college when I was 20 years old after working in retail for two years. Real life smacked me right in the face at 18, scraping by for rent and barely affording food. 40’s and Ramen was my bloodline. One day it dawned on me that if I couldn’t afford my cheap rent, food, and booze how was I supposed to ever save for a house or possibly support a child? Fear of the future is what drove me to go to college.

I decided to aim high, I went straight for pharmacy school. I wanted to make a lot of money and have job security. The issue? Potentially 6 years of school. So I switched to getting my bachelors in Chemistry.

I was constantly worrying about what was after school. Would I make enough money? Would I be happy? Would money make me happy? What the f*ck am I doing? This summer I had what some would say was a quarter life crisis. I woke up one day so extremely unhappy. I hated where I was going in life (I had no dreams of being a chemist or grad school), I didn’t love my boyfriend anymore, and most of all I was losing sight of who I was. So I dumped my boyfriend, switched my major to marketing, and made a pact with myself to never think so seriously about the future again.

Plans blind you.

When I thought I had it all figured out, when I made my 5 year plan, when I envisioned myself in a lab making cool drugs, is when I said no to opportunities. I had tunnel vision. I was only seeing what I wanted to see, I was only networking with people that I thought could help me get ahead. I’ve now fully adopted the philosophy that everything and everyone is an opportunity. Talk to anyone you meet, you never know what will happen.

A few weeks ago I was back home in Washington and took an Uber ride to the airport. He was a retired consultant that drove for fun. He is now my mentor and helping me in starting my second LLC to do marketing for one of his startups. Did I think that would happen from a car ride? Hell no, but here I am and I couldn’t be more excited and scared at the same time.

Bottom line.

When someone asks you what you want to do after school, it’s okay to say you have no idea (I do it all the time). Don’t think you have to be the person you set out to be. Make plans but stay flexible. Talk to anyone and everyone. Never say no to a solid opportunity, even if it scares the shit out of you. I know I don’t have anything figured out and I’m finally 100% okay with that.


Nicole Lane

3 Replies to “Why I’m okay with not knowing what I’m doing.”

  1. Nicole-You put everything into words that I’ve been feeling since September when I started getting peppered with questions about what I’m doing after college. Your content is very relatable and adding your personal anecdotes was great! I really liked how you used bolded phrases to keep the audience engaged and draw attention. For feedback to improve-I would have loved to continue reading a bit more. A few more key insights you have gained by not knowing what you’re doing or even ways to open oneself up to opportunities would add even more value for readers. Really enjoyed it though and happy I’m not the only one in the corner shrugging my shoulders when asked what I’m doing. Well done!

  2. This blog addresses a super important point that a lot of young people miss. I feel when you’re around the age of 18 everyone expects you to have your life plan figured out and the pressure that comes with that can be unbearable. I couldn’t agree more with your bottom line. Creating a network may be the most underrated thing that a young person associates with the future. It can be super overwhelming going out of your way to talk to someone you may not know but it can forever change your life for the better. At the end of the day it’s not what you know it’s who you know. Great blog!

  3. Nicole, your blog impressed me. I honestly didn’t know that this was your background! I think that you learned a lot of lessons, by working first and then picking pharmacy school, just because you wanted to make money but you didn’t necessarily like it. You detailed everything really well and told your whole story, I think a lot of people have the same problems and we all fall and have to get back up. I think those are great life lessons, and you are a great person right now. Thanks for sharing your story and you did a great job!

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