Your twenties are such a strange and mysterious time. In a way, you are caught between two extremes: On the one hand, this is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, a fresh start with the rest of your life ahead of you; on the other hand, you can’t help but feel this pressure to achieve all your goals immediately and feel disappointed when they don’t fall through. It is a time where you feel qualified to take on your dream job and yet the world still seems to look at you as inexperienced for “real jobs”.

It can be really discouraging, honestly. Yet, I am finding that these are the most crucial years that will inevitably become the foundation for our lives that we continue to build later on. Recently, I have been listening to a podcast called Millennial and essentially, it follows the exact thing I’m going on about now: maneuvering the confusing road that is your twenties. There is so much that remains unclear and it can be easy to get lost and to stay that way, going with the flow blindly until it becomes too late – but even then, I feel like we are far too hard on ourselves.

We are looked upon by people who started their own businesses at nineteen years old and became millionaires by their twenties. You know the type: started off as a lowly janitor and “worked their way up the economic ladder." Because of their success stories, there seems to be this idea instilled in the back of our minds that we should have figured out our entire lives by now, and if we haven’t, that makes us failures. However, we have to accept the fact that so much is different than it was ten or twenty years ago. Life isn’t as simple as it used to be. Hell, jobs aren’t as simple as they used to be. More is demanded of our generation than before – we need experience, we need certain skills, we need a certain personality. There is so much that is required of millennials that I feel that we need to give ourselves some slack.

Sure, you may not know what you want to do after you graduate. You may even question whether or not college is something worth doing. Despite all that, however, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to define our worth by where we are now. This is the time where our choices are most malleable. We can define who we want to be and what we want to do. We are a generation of dreamers. We don’t want to do the typical nine to five cubicle jobs. We want to be our own boss and decide for ourselves where we choose to work. We aspire to be artists, writers, journalists, actors, performers, musicians, etc and that is an amazing thing. There are so many of us who are choosing not to follow the same path the previous generation did – we are paving our own path.

I know that right now, everything may seem confusing. You may not know what step to take next or what career path to choose – but all I can say is to choose something you love doing. Don’t be afraid to chase your passion and make a career out of it. Too many of us settle young and end up taking jobs we don’t really care for doing and abandon our hopes altogether. I know it may seem risky but these are the years where risk is needed the most. We are redefining what it means to be successful and we should embrace it – even in the seemingly insignificant ways – be proud of yourself for posting your first vlog or starting up a blog to inspire others with your words. Whatever it may be, pursue it. Nothing tried, nothing gained. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to become caught up in what the rest of the world wants us to do; our twenties are a time of self-discovery, don’t try to figure it all out at once.