“What do you want to be when you grow up?"
...It’s a question we get asked a lot - whether it’s your first day of Kindergarten, junior year of college, or five years post-grad.
Some people are lucky, and have had the perfect answer to this since they were a kid. But, unfortunately, not everyone’s journey to their career path has been quite so clear-cut.
“I went into college undecided. After a while, I thought I would try out the nursing program. This led me to want to be a physical therapist, so I changed my major to Exercise Science,” says Sydney Williams, 1st grade teacher at Twinbrook Elementary School.
“After taking all of those science courses, I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I took a risk my junior year and decided to try Early Childhood Education. I had always worked with kids and been a babysitter. As soon as I took my first class, I loved it. I instantly knew that I made the right choice.”
Sydney isn’t alone in her experience. According to USA TODAY, a whopping 80% of U.S. college students will change their major at least once before graduating.
So if you’re feeling unsure of the best career choice for you, here are a few tips:
Identify what you’re passionate about. Don’t just think about “what you like to do,” go deeper than that.
What drives you?
What do you wake up in the morning excited to work on?
What do you want to change in the world?
You can always switch jobs later in life, but most people stay in the same general field for most of their careers. If you’re working 40+ hours a week, it better be doing something you enjoy.
Ask others around you what your strengths are. Business Insider says, “certain careers are better suited to different personality types. For example, do you like talking to people, thinking in the abstract, working independently, and using your brain more than your feelings? Maybe you should consider a career as a reporter.”
Sometimes others can see our skill set more easily than we can ourselves. This is the prime time to tap into the network you’ve been building and ask what they think.
Think about the bigger picture. It can be hard as a high school or college student to start thinking about your ultimate life plan, but it can help you figure out what you want to do with your life.
The Muse suggests asking yourself “What does my dream job look like?” and “How does this job fit into my life?”
They recommend “to look at your career choices in the context of the rest of your life - relationships, hobbies, family commitments, even things like fitness and spirituality.”
Write a pros and cons list. Get ready to go old school. Grab some paper and sparkly gel pens, because we’re making pros and cons lists!
Write the name of each potential career path at the top of the page. Then start listing out all of the pros on one side of the page, and all of the cons on the other.
After doing this for a few of your options, look over your lists and analyze them.
Is having a 9-5 schedule non-negotiable?
Do you cringe at the idea of traveling for work every week?
Can you live without a 401(k)?
Trying to decide what to do with the rest of your life is understandably challenging - it’s the rest of your life! But, whatever you decide to do in life, our number one tip is this:
Give it all you’ve got.