11 answers

How should I figure out what i'm going to do with my life?

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11 answers

Christina’s Answer

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As a current college student my advise is to choose a major that you will enjoy or that you are good at. Many times people just choose majors based on salary and it can lead to difficulties during the college education. Find something that you love or enjoy doing. Or something you are talented in. Or a subject that you are good at and comes as second nature to you. I'm speaking from personal experience because I have changed my major twice (so I had 3 majors) before I decided to go with the major I should've chosen from the start. I had so much trouble attending classes prior to my current major. Now I have 3 semesters to graduate and am so happy with my choice. Go with your natural instinct and you will do great! Sometimes people don't realize how many jobs you can get with various degrees. Your college degree will open so many doors for you and you never know where they may lead.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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What are you passionate about? What's important to you? These are questions that I would ask yourself in helping you to make your decision. If you love what you do than it won't feel like work. I recommend pursuing something that you are passionate about and what's important to you and in the meantime try working for different jobs to get work experience under your belt.
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Josiah’s Answer

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Someone else said know what you like and can be good at. That is important! The other thing I would add to this, is see if you can spend time shadowing those who are doing a job now that you find you may be interested in. If you can spend a week or so and see the day-in and day-out of the job, you may find that a job you thought you would love is terribly boring during the day. Or a job you weren't sure about, actually interests you more. The more real life experience you can take in, the better you can know if that is something you would enjoy and should pursue a job in.
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Audrey’s Answer

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College is a time to have fun and find yourself. The great thing is you can start off by taking some general education courses and take the time to test things out. You have plenty of time to figure out what your passion is, just make sure you enjoy what it is you are doing. Try getting a list together of what careers interest you and then start researching. It's always good to know the pros and cons to certain careers, what's important to you? Would you like to be outdoors, in an office, be your own boss, help other people, etc. Don't feel rushed, remember you still have plenty of time!
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Meghan’s Answer

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A lot of figuring that out is trying new things! Whether it's through jobs in school, or internships, or classes - just try a lot of things and make sure to keep track of or think about what you're interested in, like or don't like through each of those. Most importantly - think about how no one has the answers necessarily! It's all a process, which is scary but also helped me think through my options when I was in your shoes.
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Rilwan’s Answer

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As a college student there are many opportunities to find out what you may want to do in the future. I'd recommend just looking at clubs you find interesting and even going to career fairs. I knew I wanted to go into business but I didn't know what specifically. What helped me was going to events where people would talk about what they do and their experiences in their respective fields.

I really hope you find what you're looking for.
Good Luck!

Rilwan recommends the following next steps:

  • Join a club you find interesting
  • Attend the next career fair
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Ryan’s Answer

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I would say make a list of potential career fields or majors that you want to pursue. Then consult people within that industry for their advice and learn more about it. Choosing a career field or making a life decision you can never truly know what's going to happen down the road. Instead, try making a plan that's best fitted to you.
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Valeri’s Answer

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Hi Alexis,
Figuring out what to do with life is a hard question we all struggle with and too much to decide at any one point in life. Career will only be part of it. You don't have to make all your decisions right away.

The challenge for you is to get to know yourself as an independent human being. What do you do well, what do you enjoy, and what makes you feel successful?

Make a list of everything you can do and highlight the ones you like or love doing. Some of them may be career choices, others hobbies or avocational options. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. There will always be someone who does it better. There are so many ways to make a living that desire to do something and a commitment to learn can overcome a lack of natural talent.

Ask your friends and family what they think you would be good at and why. Even though the decision needs to be yours, hearing what others think and why may hint at talents that you don't recognize.

Talk to people in different professions. Ask them what they love about their jobs and what challenges them. Ask them to describe a day at work. If interested, ask if you can shadow them for a day.

Think about where and how you want to live (rural vs urban vs suburban, USA vs another country, house vs condo vs apartment vs homeless, work for yourself vs work for someone else), what you like to do outside of a career (hobbies, recreation, travel, giving-back), family vs single, and what income you think you'll need to pay for them. This is where you dream of what your life might be like.

You'll ultimately want to make goals for yourself for education, finances, careers (you will likely have 4-5 careers and 2-3 jobs per career in your life), family, social, health, etc.

Finally, if you plan to stay in the USA, look at the https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ and use some of their tools to help you narrow down your career choices.

Best wishes for a fascinating and exciting life.
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Kim’s Answer

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Alexis,

You honestly don't have to figure it all out right now! People move around in jobs quite a bit, and often end up in jobs not directly related to their degrees. So, take a few on-line interests tests. Go take the military aptitude test. They will tell you what you are good at. You don't have to go in the military, just take advantage of the test! Or, consider joining. It's not a bad move. Problems come in when you don't like doing what you are good at. Such as me not wanting to be an accountant, even though I did great in the class! Then you look towards other things that can use that same aptitude - perhaps teaching math rather than being a CPA?

A key term you want to learn right now, and remember for the rest of your working life, is "transferable job skills." That means things you learn in one job that you can use in another job. Sometimes you will have to spell it out for the next employer, because they might not see it. An example: If you own a dog, would you want someone taking care of it (boarding or doggy daycare) whose only past experience was in fast food? Probably not. But, (and this really happened). . . I was working with a young lady who was trying to get hired in such a position. Her only experience was fast food. What do the two have in common? A very strong concern with infectious disease control! So, we focused her resume on the heavy duty cleaning that she did, esp. since she worked the overnight shift. Breaking down and cleaning the grill, etc. and explicitly stated that she did it . . . "to ensure compliance with disease prevention regulations." (or something like that!). We added in her customer service and money handling experience, since she would also be doing customer service at the doggy place. But, the emphasis was on cleaning.

With practice, you will learn to write resumes that address the job announcement.

Anyway, what about now? If you want to go to college, I'd go to a 2 year commuter college and get a general associates degree. Hospitality Services or Business or ? I would not go into major debt at this point, not knowing where you are going. Another option is to get a job someplace that has tuition assistance, and take classes part time (I like to recommend hospitals, because they have everything from warehouse to dietary to admin!)

Try just envisioning yourself going to work. Imagine getting up in the morning, getting dressed - are you putting on a business suit, jeans, or ? Do you want to be outdoors or indoors? Do you like physical or mental work? Could you handle being at a cubicle all day? It's really hard to know what you like and what you don't when you've never done it. Don't be too hard on yourself right now. Telling yourself that you want to have your career on track by the age of 25, or 28, would be fair.

One other thing. . . as you explore life, try not to get too heavily in debt. Sometimes it is necessary to take a pay cut to create opportunities. That is, a different job at a different company. The job might pay less, but the opportunity for advancement is great! You want to have the latitude to be able to make that move.

I know this went into areas you didn't ask about. However, the more you can learn about personal financial management skills and job search skills, the better situated you will be to navigate the adult world. Good luck to you!

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Kevin’s Answer

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I'd start by doing an honest assessment of two general areas: What am I good at, and What do I like.
Then look at where those two intersect, and pursue in that direction. Aptitude and interest surveys, widely available, can help in this discernment process.

Remember you don't have to decide what to do for the next 30 or 40 years all at once...as long as what you pick can earn you a living, life is what happens while you are making other plans. In the meantime, don't stress about what to do

The old adage that "if you do something you love for a living, you never work a day in your life" is true.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

  • 1. Honestly self-assess on the things you like (your passions).
  • 2. Honestly self-assess your skills (what you're good at).
  • 3. Look at where those two intersect.
  • 4. Get into a major that is in line with your passions and skills
  • 5. Go Get That Dream!
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Cameron’s Answer

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Hi Alexis,

I would encourage you to read "Designing Your Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Figuring out what to do with your life is a process, and this book will teach you skills to help you work through this process effectively.

Good luck!

-Cameron
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