4 answers

what is a way you can find out what you really want to do in life?

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i'm a sophemore trying to figure out what i want to do. i'm asking this because i'm always changing my mind. #career-choice #career-path

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4 answers

Gary’s Answer

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Don't take all of the burden on yourself right at this moment. You don't need to decide what you want to do with your WHOLE life right now. All you really need to decide is what you want to do with your life for the next decade or so. Maybe a good way to think about it is "What do I want to do with my 20s?". The answer could be things like "Become a great architect and make enough money to pay off all of my college loans so I can have flexibility for the next decade."as an example. So how do you figure out what your career passions are? I would suggest that you try as many extracurricular activities and internships as you can to get a first-hand feel for what certain jobs are like. And keep your eyes peeled for role models you might want to emulate. Read biographies and reputable magazines highlighting the jobs of people who are doing cool things you want to do. Sometimes it is as simple as taking some time to think about the things you enjoy and why you enjoy them, and then thinking about careers that match those passions. Just remember that you don't have to figure it all out now. You should have SOME plan, but you don't need to have THE ONLY plan.

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J’s Answer

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That's a great question Marla, but a difficult one!


I think it's very hard to figure out what we should do with our lives. Some people (the minority of people) figure out very early what it is they want to do, and stick with it. For most other people, they search, try things out, change their minds, and hopefully find something eventually.


Here's are a few things I've found to be helpful in trying to figure things out for myself:

- what am I good at? I like being able to do things well, so I want the thing that I spend a lot of my time doing to actually produce good results

- what are the things I enjoy? This could be more concrete things--like watching movies, or things that are more abstract, like--organizing your friends to do things. It's been really important for me to try to figure why it is that I enjoy something--do I enjoy it because I get praise from other people, or do I enjoy it because I just like the activity itself?

- what I can imagine spending all my time doing? here i'm talking about your environment. I could sit in front of a computer all day, reading, writing, analyzing things, working mostly by myself. Some of my friends could never do that--they want to be in different environments, e.g., talking to people, working with their hands. Think about what you could actually see yourself doing for extended periods of time.

- what is important to me? For me, it's important that I am financially secure. It's also important that the work I do has positive impact (whether on a few other people, my community, or a broader group). For other people I know, it's important that they have a lot of money--they want to be able to buy designer clothing, eat at fancy restaurants regularly, fly first class (notice that this is different from being financially secure).


I keep coming back to these questions. In other words, as I try new things, I try to answer these questions for myself. I notice that some of my answers change over time, but that helps me figure out what it is I want to do. I totally agree with Gary that you don't have to figure out everything right now.


However, it was always important to me to be able to have different options so that I could change my mind, and what enabled me to have those different options was to work hard in school and work to improve the things I was not good at. I worked hard in high school (on my grades and extracurricular activities) so I could get into a great college. I worked hard in college so I could get a good job. I worked hard on things I was not naturally good at, so I could keep my options open. For example, English is my second language--my writing wasn't very good, so I worked to make it better by practicing writing and reading a lot. I had trouble speaking, especially in front of groups, so I joined debate in high school to get more practice and to get better.


It's totally okay to change your mind, but think about the questions I wrote above, and as Gary suggests, explore different things so you can better answer those questions.

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G. Mark’s Answer

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Oh, boy, this is a surprisingly easy one. Surprising because this is a question that has often baffled many of us for years and years, and yet there is a methodical and practical approach. First, take a Personality Assessment Survey test, like, say, RIASEC. Look to employment agencies, school counselors, any guidance counselors, or search the web. The purpose here is to rapidly narrow your search. You likely have hundreds or thousands of possible careers or lifestyles available, so the first step should be to narrow those down to those what won't make you miserable. These tests match your personality profile to folks in a whole slew of careers who are happy and successful.

After you've got this list of candidate careers, look through each and imagine the scenario wherein you're in that career and what might happen, where might you move, what might you accomplish, what flexibility would it allow.

Next, seek out people who are actually in those careers you've narrowed yourself down to and talk to them. Anyone who likes their job will often be eager to share their insights.

So start methodically to save time, then listen to your heart. And imagine possibilities.

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18cgadbaw’s Answer

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its ok to change your mind but if you dont like it then follow your dreams and your heart :)

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