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What career path should I take?

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I don't know what I want to do.I thought I wanted to be an engineer,but I'm really good at language arts.I'm not that great at math but I love science.What do I do?#undecided

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Amy’s Answer

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I finished high school eons ago and I still haven't figured out what I want to do. Why choose?

When I was thinking about college I wanted to go into music, or art, or computers, or teaching. I ended up picking computers because it was the one with the most job prospects and I figured it was hard --- I like a good challenge! I ended up with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, and then ended up making web pages in the Dot-Com 1.0 days. Interesting thing: the web is one of those things where everything intersects! You have to know computers to make a good app, you have to know design to make it appealing, and it really helps to know music to help add atmosphere.

In college I ended up doing artsy things with friends. So I didn't take any art classes but I got exposed to it. Later in life I ended up doing art + high tech events, so I got the best of both worlds.

Also in college I got exposed to audio editing and music. That led to many other things like bands and music software. Having a solid day job helped feed the music habit (because making it as a musician can be really hard). And that led to opportunities like traveling for gigs, running music festivals, sound effects design, and more.

I guess it's OK to not know what you want to do. But, it does help to find something you're good at that has a good career and focus on that as the primary goal. Everything else can be supported by that. Good luck!
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Rachael’s Answer

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It can certainly be difficult determining a career path in high school you will stick with for your entire career. I would highly recommend taking a career assessment to determine which fields might possibly suit you. You know yourself best so take the results with a grain of salt. If you truly don't think you'd be interested in pursuing one of the results, then don't include it! I think it's important to consider your values and field interests first and foremost because this will guide you in your career.

Once you determine some areas of interest I would suggest finding someone within the field to inquiry with/interview in order to get a first-hand perspective of what that line of work is like. You can start with your network (family, friends, relatives, etc.). If someone in your network in not within the field of interest, perhaps someone in their network is. If you are interested after speaking with them I would suggest you ask to shadow within that field in order to get an idea of the day to day is like.

Your first year of college mainly consists of introductory courses which should give you a taste of what the field is like. It's not until later in your college career when you're in the more detailed courses I think you have the idea it might not be for you. Choosing a major which can set you up with a foundation is a very important part. There's nothing wrong in pivoting from that but at least it gets you started.

That said, a major can have many different career paths. I think an internship would be extremely beneficial for you to aid in determining which application of that major you want to pursue. Perhaps the day to day operation of one does not interest you, but that doesn't necessarily mean the major altogether isn't for you. I would stress completing as many internships in different positions as you can to pinpoint which career path you want to pursue.

I love Rachel's response. There's a great book called "Strength Finders" which helps you visualize what qualities about you and your personality (in personal and professional settings) are your strengths. Once you understand "what you are good at" and what you enjoy doing, you can search for different jobs, majors that match these different qualities. Also looking up different jobs on LinkedIn or Indeed.com can be helpful. Read the descriptions and the qualifications. Find people who have these jobs and send them a message directly through LinkedIn to learn a little bit about what they do, how they got there, and why they like their jobs. They are usually good resources in helping guide what you can explore studying at school as well. Danielle Herlund
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