Dear 18-Year-Old Me: You’ll Screw Up At Work, But Don’t Panic!

Dear 18-year-old Harshita,

Congratulations! Your first semester results are just out and you have passed with flying colours. I know the journey from a small town to the country’s capital has been tough and full of experiences – but pat yourself on the back because you have done a fabulous job adjusting to all the challenges. Let me tell you, there are a lot of academic successes in store for you. But don’t make them too big because life is full of ups and lows.

Spoiler Alert? The transition from college to workspace is going to be a bumpy ride for you.

Harshita at 18 (L); Harshita at her current age. (Photo Courtesy: Harshita Murarka)

You will make mistakes and have your moments of self-doubt. You will also mess up at work invoking a series of questions within you: Am I pathetic? Am I in the right place? Do I have it in me? Maybe I will never be able to excel at work. But remember, this is a phase and it will pass soon. You will only come out stronger. In fact, you will be surprised to find the inner strength in you that will help you take all the challenges in your stride. Yes! To the anxious person inside you, you will feel that the world is coming to an end – but trust me it is NOT!

But remember, whenever you goof up at work do not run away from accepting your mistake. Own up to them because your mistakes only make you human and you are accountable for them. However, you are neither the first nor the last person to end up in an undesirable situation. Confront the situation, take responsibility, learn from your mistakes and move on. But the person that you are, I know you are going to be harsh on yourself. For that, give yourself enough time to feel guilty because that will only ensure that you don’t repeat your mistake. Thereafter, put it behind you and get on to the roller-coaster ride that life is. You will only have a bigger responsibility of proving yourself after this. Work (really hard) towards that and don’t allow anyone to pull you down. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either. But at the same time, do not get bogged down by the pressure of perfection. It does NOT exist.

Let me share a secret with you – you will work in a fabulous space with some wonderful people around. Don’t forget to have fun. Make memories while you are there. You never know when you might make some friends for life. Just make sure to enjoy the journey and I am sure you will find what you are looking for. Even if you don’t (and that is okay) you will have an amazing story to tell.

To that ambitious, confident and slightly confused girl, I can only say that remember, life just can’t beat someone who refuses to give up! Keep working hard and everything else will fall into place.

Stay strong!

With love,
Your future self