So I realized the other day: I’m an adult. I’m like, old. In a year and half, I’ll be entering the Real World finally, and I’ll need a for-real source of income, not just my campus job.
This was an uncomfortable realization, to say the least.
Most musicians’ careers aren’t likely to fit the “traditional” trajectory that people imagine. That uncertainty is nerve-wracking. Here’s how we can all handle it!
Take up a side-hustle. Something that helps me keep my anxiety under control is my writing. I don’t just run this blog and my Patreon. I also do freelance editing, proofing, formatting, and copywriting on the side. This helps cover stuff like, say, food and conference expenses right now. However, if I chose to put some serious time into it, I could see it becoming a career. Find something that uses your current skills, outside of your major, and start working at it. Knowing you have a fallback is honestly a super comforting feeling.
Have a list of requirements and preferences for your future. Knowing what you want out of life is probably the most important thing you could figure out. Do you want to live somewhere specific? Make at least a certain amount? Have a picket fence and a dog, or a tiny flat in a huge city? Figure out what you absolutely need to get out of your future (or what you want to avoid!), and you’ll feel much calmer. Having goals to work towards gives you something on which to focus. Knowing what you want will help you get there far quicker than just blindly flailing in uncertainty.
Name your worst-case scenario. On the other end of things, if your desired career doesn’t work out, what’s the worst that can happen? You end up unemployed without other skills? That’s what the side-hustle is for. People laugh at you? They’re pretty mean, ignore them. Once you outline the potential worst-case scenarios, you can have a plan to get out of them. You also can usually reflect and realize that in the grand scheme of things, the worst-case scenario isn’t that bad.
Remember that so far, things have turned out pretty okay. If this post and this blog are at all relevant to you, then so far your life has likely been mostly alright. Every person faces their struggles, and if you’re in a dark spot, please reach out for help. However, the majority of people reading this are able to attend college, and even get to pursue a major that, to be honest, isn’t very practical. You’ve gotten to this point! Keep trying your hardest and reaching out for help when you need it, and I’d bet that your life is going to go pretty good.
The future is scary. So is uncertainty. I get it. But you can handle it. You’ve got this!
First seen on my Patreon!