Text: Helmi Yrjänä
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
This fall I started my fifth year in university. My studies have reached a point where there is only an uncompleted Master’s thesis between me and graduation.
Right now I am pretty sure I will not sign up for any other projects apart from my thesis. For many years I have been studying a number of things at the same time, but now I decided to concentrate on one thing only. Why should I take on new things that may turn out stressful if I have the option of not taking any? By working less hard, I can maintain my mental wellbeing and strength. I also think I may not have another opportunity like this for quite some time, so I want to try it. It is very likely that working on one and the same topic all the time may turn out a bit boring. But I will deal with that problem when it comes up.
Last year I worked really hard on my studies. I suffered from prolonged stress, and there were moments when I was so tired that would have been ready to quit studying altogether. But I survived. And I would likely survive again if I had to. But I do not feel any need to put my coping skills to a similar test again, unless necessary.
In May I tested a new working schedule. I only worked on my thesis and other assignments for four hours a day. If I began to feel tired during my morning session, I had a twenty-minute nap and then continued with more focus. I found that, when I did not even try to work for eight hours a day, it was much easier to concentrate on whatever I was doing. I felt more optimistic and was able to think more clearly because I was working at my own pace without stress.
Right now, I have one deadline, by which I should accomplish something. One single deadline. After that, however, there will be another deadline, which should be the last before my graduation. When I am done with those, I should be a little more grown-up and should find a niche for myself all on my own. That thought seems strange and even a bit oppressive. I feel perplexed about the future that is empty, open and completely unknown.
So many people have already asked me what I will do after graduation. It is a good question, but I cannot answer it. I have often been asked first ”What are you going to do?” and then ”Where are you planning to settle?” The latter question is something I can answer: ”I would not like to settle down anywhere north of Oulu or south of Jyväskylä.” I have drawn these lines only because I would like to stay within a reasonable distance from my childhood home. In reality, I do not know where I will end up.
When I have been asked about these things, I have reminded both the person asking the questions and myself that I do not need to know about my future yet. Thinking about the future seems so stressful that I have decided to postpone that stress until I feel better prepared to think about it. There will be plenty of time for me to think about those things when I have my diploma in my hands. Up until that time, I can freely anticipate my future without any plans. I trust that God has planned a suitable path for me, and I do not need to worry about it ahead of time.
If there is someone among the readers of this post who is worried about the future course of his or her life, I would like to say to you: Dear friend, don’t worry! The Heavenly Father has planned a good and suitable route for you. Only trust in the promise that you will find your way. The way to go may seem long to the human mind, but just believe that there is a good and safe place and life situation waiting for you somewhere.
Help your dream grow
stroking it lightly
and whispering loving words,
caress and cherish it
tend to it with compassionate thoughts
water it with warm
That will make your dream grow
into a suitable niche
find its own story line.