Harshita Jain graduated in engineering in 2019 from West Bengal and almost immediately plunged into a job with a software company in Pune.
Starting a career early was always her priority, but within a couple of years of achieving it, she started regretting that she did not take time off after her studies – to pause, savour life and learn life skills.
“I should have spent time with my friends and family,” says Jain, 25, who confesses that she is now preoccupied with investments and yearly filing tax returns.
On the importance of learning certain skills early in life, Shweta Nema, an art and craft teacher and counsellor in Ojas Global School at Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh, suggests that actual interaction with the world happens when one is in one’s 20s. Youth develop strong personality traits and gain new experiences at this age, and lay the emotional and mental foundation for their future.
Nema suggests that young people should adopt a few healthy habits and life skills, time management, organising skills, learning from criticism and making a budget. These will stand them in good stead in future when they face difficult situations.
Vandana S, counselling psychologist and career coach at Psychoflakes Counselling Centre, Bengaluru, suggests the following things one should know in one’s 20s:
- It is okay to not do what everyone else is doing
- Start saving money in your early 20s when you have few responsibilities
- Take care of yourself physically and mentally; it helps you to build a happy and smooth future
- Ensure a support system for yourself, even if it is just a few people.
- Balance your work and personal life
Life coach Samira Gupta shares 10 tips to make the most of the 20s
- 1. Positive self-talk: Be your own cheerleader. Remind yourself each morning of your potential, appreciate your efforts, and respect and be kind to yourself.
- Live each day as it comes: Holding on to the past or worrying too much about the future will not help. Have a plan and goal but also set realistic milestones to them.
- Get rid of comparison and criticism: Comparing yourself with peers about education, job, or lifestyle; and feeling bad about ourself can lead to low self-confidence and self-esteem. Instead, appreciate what you have, be proud of your successes, set yourself simple goals and work towards them
- Set realistic goals: The goals we set should be realistic for us to achieve with our resources and capabilities. We should not if we cannot achieve them. This is important for a healthy emotional and mental state. Instead, make the goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
- Pay attention to mind, body, and soul: Read inspiring and motivational books, have healthy food, and take up activities like meditation, nature walks. Learn exercises and activities that balance the body and mind. Keep yourself physically fit, emotionally strong and future-ready.
- Learn new skills: This is the time to focus on learning new skills or enhancing the old skills. Think of public speaking, educational courses, music, dance, communication skills, and professional courses, which add value to your personality. Additional skills enhance one’s social and professional presence and significantly boost morale of young persons.
- Take solo trips: Visits to a quiet park or short trips with family and friends are good, but it is also important to spend time alone. It helps to reflect, plan and reorganise one’s life
- Learn to say `no’: Learning to say ‘no’ to certain things early in life can positively define one’s boundaries later. It may be difficult at first but say `no’ to options that are not aligned with your goals.
- Network: Socialising is important. The more you interact with and learn from people, the better will be the opportunities in life. Join social clubs, enrol yourself in extra-curricular or hobby classes, and attend constructive networking events.
- Get help: Often, mental and emotional stress can overwhelm young people. They should not hesitate to seek the help of an expert if necessary as it will add a new perspective, clarify one’s goals, and help to focus on personal and professional growth.
To sum up what the experts say: The 20s are the beginning of one’s journey of life and should be full of fun and excitement. Youth, do remember to live it responsibly and strike a balance between making it all-play or all-work and securing a future.