It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Although college – or your twenties in general – is fun, there are a lot of challenges that must be faced head on. The greatest challenge is choosing what you will major in.
For those who did not or are not attending college, the greatest challenge is deciding what career you’re going to pursue when you graduate high school. It’s a big decision.
Not long ago you had to ask permission to go pee, but now you’re adult enough to make a life-altering decision that will determine the rest of your life. I mean, can you say stressful?
Of course, there are the people who have known what they were going to do since they were a child. This decision is literally nothing to them. But for those of us, like myself, who have/had literally no clue what to do, it is horrible!
I cannot tell you how many nights I spent scrolling through the list of potential majors on my university website. I cannot express how stressed I became when I thought about how I was running out of time to choose – you can only take so many general education requirements, after all. Honestly, it was exhausting.
Does this sound like you?
If it does, let me start by saying this: remain calm. It will work out! You will find the right path for you, you will graduate (even if it’s a little late), and you will find a job. Trust me, you won’t be stuck in college forever with no career choice, unless you end up in a portal anyways. And yes, that was my attempt at what was probably a very bad joke.
Moving on from that… I have created a list of tangible things you can do to try to solve this problem! These are tips that I wish I would have known when I was nineteen. Hopefully they can be help you through the search process.
In your perspective, what makes a job “good”? How important is work/life balance? How much flexibility are you looking for?
You can find even more questions online, but determining your values is so important!
What makes you happy? Is there anything that you cannot go a day without thinking about or doing? What subject/topic are you willing to invest time in studying and learning?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you need a career that fits your interests. At first, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but later learned that I am more interested in working one-on-one, rather than with groups of people. So, what are you interested in?
Do you prefer to work alone or as a team? Do you prefer a regular routine or a constantly-changing schedule? What kind of environment would you be happy working in?
Obviously, your personality will reflect greatly on the career choice you make! Answer questions like these to determine what could be a good fit.
What are your strengths? Do you communicate well (verbally or written)? What sort of activities do you enjoy (problem-solving, creative activities, athletic activities, etc.)?
Find out what skills you have that would be a good fit for specific career interests!
Do some fact-finding (O*Net, Occupational Outlook Handbook, etc.), talk with a professional, and/or do a job search.
After you have learned about yourself, it’s time to start gathering information about potential careers.
Intern with a professional in your potential career field or job shadow a professional. This is the best way to get first-hand experience about what the career looks like. Remember: You can always learn a lot in the arena that you may not have gained from reading about the job.
I really hope this helps!