‘What are you doing after school?’, has always been an unanswerable question for me, with many of my friends also being in the same boat; floundering over a response when relatives, family friends or the friendly neighbour you cat- sit for ask ‘what are you planning on doing when you leave school?’

Unlike previous years when a casual shrug or laugh as sufficed as a response to the ever- common question, it has been a strange this year, as a year 13 student, to have an idea of where I am going. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I actually have an answer to that question, and I don’t think anyone really does, but it is definitely more prevalent around me as my fellow classmates and I realise that next year we will no longer have the safety net of school which we have bounced around in for 13 years.

That is not meant to sound scary or sad, especially to those like me who rely on the rigid routine of school to get up in the morning- it’s exciting to have a bit of that ‘ahhhhh’ feeling, because we will all inevitably find our own path. And while many still don’t know exactly where they are going next year, I have noticed the increase of epiphanies about the future around me.

At primary school, I would dream about a specific job I wanted to have- author, to teacher, to Agricultural Scientist with a PhD (I am pretty sure I didn’t even know what that meant) and then to actor (which I still haven’t quite let go of), however, more recently I have found that I know more of the things I want to be, things I want to do. I want to study more, I want to be creative, I want to write, I want to have a routine and I want to meet new people. While I don’t know what I want to do to the last, minute detail when I leave school, I know who I want to be and what motivates me, which is… well, it’s a start.

This year has also brought the realisation that what you do and who you are, are not the same. Sure, they are linked and your career should fit you, but they are also separate, and one of the most exciting things about leaving school, aside from the career, is the freedom to live the life you want.

This is pretty special time, watching my peers decide where they are going next, and coming to terms with the fact that we won’t all be in the same place next year. Never in my life has the idea of leaving school been a common option for the people around me, so it is unusual to see some of the people I have known since I was five who I have done school productions with, and shared a class teddy bear with, go out into the big scary workforce however it is exciting to see.

Year thirteen is unlike any other year; a year for finding yourself, and coming to terms with that not necessarily meaning finding the job title you will have for the rest of your life, because this will change over the years.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it’s great to have an answer to the question ‘what are you doing next year’ and it is also great not to, because (at the risk of sounding like a homemade card your mum found on Pinterest), either way, every compass will find their north (which makes only a little bit of sense).

So, what am I going to do next year? I’ll get back to you.


Libby Duncan is a year 13 student from Christchurch who loves writing, drama, and being organised. When she is not hard-core procrastinating, you will find her stressing out because she was hard-core procrastinating. Libby thinks she is pursuing a career in Media and Communications or Journalism- but to be honest, she isn’t quite sure yet.


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