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How do you know what you want to do with your life?

At 18 students are often forced to think about what they want to do for the REST of their lives. How do they know if what they are passionate about now will make a good career choice for them or if it they will even like their major a year later ?
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Nathan’s Answer

Hi Shamarie,
Such a great question! In my experience, very few of us know what we want to do for the rest of our lives when we are in school. Some do, but the great majority of us don't. But that's ok, it makes it an exciting adventure of discovery! When I was in school I loved art and drawing, so I become a draftsman preparing technical drawings for construction - then the whole job changed and went to using computers and I never worked with a pen or pencil again! I became an expert in the software which then led me to a sales career. I'm now still in the drawing software industry managing a team of salespeople, and very happy. Sometimes you can't see where the path will ultimately lead you, but choosing where you start is something you can do. Start by following your passion. If you choose a career today only based on it's prospects you could land a great career, but not feel happy or fulfilled. Or worse, that industry could dramatically change and no longer be such a hot career prospect any more! Follow your interests, follow your passions, follow your strengths and what you like to do, and the rest will sort itself out. Hope this helps.

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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on being interested in finding the right career to follow.. It takes a special person to enter into a specific career field and meet the demands which that career area presents. The first step is to get to know yourself to see if you share the personality traits which make one successful in that area. The next step is doing networking to meet and talk to and possibly shadow people doing what you might think that you want to do to see if this is something that you really want to do, as a career area could look much different on the inside than it looks from the outside.  When I was doing college recruiting, I encountered too many students, who skipped these important steps, and ended up in a career/job for which they were ill suited.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
• It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
It really does not matter what school you attend, as the most important factors are how well you do with the school work, which is an indication to an employer about what kind of employee you will be, and the effort that you put forth in your networking to set up networking connections that will help you throughout your education/career journey. Here is an important video for you to watch: ## http://www.ted.com/talks/julie_lythcott_haims_how_to_raise_successful_kids_without_over_parenting?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=education ##

Also, here are some important tips on how you can reduce college costs. Too many people are spending way too much money on an education and ending up with unnecessarily high debt. ## http://www.educationplanner.org/students/paying-for-school/ways-to-pay/reduce-college-costs.shtml Ken Simmons

Here is an interesting site that will help you with this question: Should You Go To College https://medium.com/the-mission/high-school-is-over-should-you-go-to-college-b5b6db6f6712 Ken Simmons

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