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How do I decide on what I want to do for the rest of my life?

I have a wide variety of careers which I am thinking about including #criminal-justice #environmental #parks-and-recreation and #education but I am unsure about what the pros and cons are for each career. I am entering #college as an #undecided major and hope to discover new careers and narrow my list down. #career-choice

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Eric’s Answer

I have several bits of advice I've given to my kids.

- First, you're still young and growing. There is a good chance that you will change your mind over the next few years, and that's ok. It's all part of the process.

- I tell my kids to form three career lists: (1) those things you really enjoy, (2) those things that you are good at, and (3) those things you can eventually do to support yourself. Now look for the careers that appear in all three lists; those might lead you to the best choice for you.

- Shadowing is a great way to learn more about a career. It lets you see what "a day in the life of ..." is like, and it also helps you build relationships with professionals in those careers you are considering.

- As you research, shadow, talk to professionals, etc., keep in mind it's ok to figure out that you DON'T like a career. Crossing something off your list can be helpful, too.

- And finally, nothing is cast in stone. Even when you are done with school and in the 'adult world', it's ok to change careers.

Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this was very helpful. I have shadowed at a large animal vet and done an internship in a Pre-K class so far. Carly
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Emily’s Answer

expose yourself to as many careers as you can. Volunteer in related activities to see if you like the work. Talk to professors and retirees from the field you are considering. Focus on the basics that apply to any degree first and complement those classes with introductions to various fields until you find your true passion.

Remember, whatever career path you choose, you will be spending most of your life doing. So make sure it brings you joy and satisfaction more than worrying about how much money it earns. The most important thing about choosing a career is wanting to actually go to work each day.

Best of luck to you.
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Noemi’s Answer

I am a Criminal Justice graduate. I can advise that you start with volunteering to what inspires you most. I have been a volunteer, and through volunteering I was able to point out the path I want to take in college and my career. The choice is yours. Taking Criminal Justice is not only for Law Enforcement (LE) applicants but also to those who can support the LE organization such as crime analyst, investigative analyst and so on. You can choose actually a career that you’re interested to in to. The government needed criminal justice experts and student. You can do internship with the Government with earnings or for experience. Overall, you have good career options to choose in CJ. Let me know if this helps or you need clarification. Any questions please let me know.
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Emily’s Answer

expose yourself to as many careers as you can. Volunteer in related activities to see if you like the work. Talk to professors and retirees from the field you are considering. Focus on the basics that apply to any degree first and complement those classes with introductions to various fields until you find your true passion.

Remember, whatever career path you choose, you will be spending most of your life doing. So make sure it brings you joy and satisfaction more than worrying about how much money it earns. The most important thing about choosing a career is wanting to actually go to work each day.

Best of luck to you.
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David’s Answer

When I was in college I was in a similar situation. I was trying to decide if I wanted to go into the education field or not. The best way in my opinion to decide what you really want to do in life is to volunteer and spend some free time helping out in a field you might be interested in. After I volunteered with some groups that helped out in education I decided it was not the path for me that I wanted to take.
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John’s Answer

This is something that we have all struggled with growing up. My recommendation is for you to sit down and really dive deep into the life you want to live, what makes you happy, and how much work you are willing to put into your goal job.

People can adapt to the job they chose and learn to love it, but this is not the question you asked. I suggest thinking long and hard about your hobbies and interests. Figure out if you want to keep them as a way to decompress or if that is a career option that you will not lose interest in.

I have been in the military for 14 years and have had the opportunity to do a varying range of jobs and tasks that constantly keep me interested. I didn't immediately love it, but i have enjoyed every minute of it.

John recommends the following next steps:

pros/cons
take a moment for an introspection
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Carly,

I think that the greatest thing about this time in history is you don't have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. We live in a world now where the jobs of the past are fading and new jobs that we could not imagine 20 years ago now exist. Your challenge is going to be take a first step and picking something to start with. If you are truly undecided then you have some research to do. The best possible solution would be job shadow with someone who is doing the job that you want to do. A job can sound fun and sometimes it is fun, but it can sometimes have other tasks that make the job difficult for you. These days you can even look up and read about or watch videos about a variety of jobs as well. After you do some research, you may still not know. That is actually where college can come in handy. You will be taking a variety of classes not associated with a specific major where you will be exposed to other things to consider. You should also consider how your interests may work hand in hand. You may be able to do two things that you like. You could be a teacher of criminal justice or environmental studies. You could be a lawyer for environmental causes. Just don't limit yourself. You should take the time that you have in college to determine what you are really interested in. Explore jobs or volunteer opportunities that will give you more exposure on what you are passionate about to see if you could make it a career. And remember, follow your passion. You may very well be doing none of these things that you love now in 10 years. And that is okay. As you grow and change, follow your passion. It is that passion that is going to fuel you every day.

Good luck in college. Make sure to have fun while you are learning.
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Dee’s Answer

It can be tough deciding on your career after you graduate college. Just know that it's not in concrete and if you decide on something and decide it's not what you want to do, you can change it. Therre's nothing written in stone. Degrees are helpful even if it's not geared toward the career you ultimately decide to do. A Bachelor's degree is typically required for most well paying jobs but typically are not specific Bachelor's degrees just that you have one. Taking time to watch videos or research various jobs will help as well. Finding a mentor in the field you work in is great too and will help narrow down those decisions.
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Min Hee’s Answer

Informational interviews are a great way to get insight into a major or career path. Ask your college's career counseling department if see if students can access some sort of alumni-directory. Narrow down the directory by major or occupation. Email them with a polite introduction and request a 30-minute phone call, or coffee, where you can ask them questions about their experiences (why did they choose their major, what was their first internship, what were their favorite student organizations or classes, etc). A lot of alumni are eager to help students from their college!
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Denise’s Answer

There are lots of good assessments that you can leverage to narrow in on your interests.
Thank you comment icon That's a great suggestion! Any places on where to look for assessments or do you have on that you like to recommend? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
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Jose’s Answer

Volunteering in different areas and places is a great way to start, also applying for internship programs to give you an idea of what the everyday for that career is like. Regardless, something that you have a passion for and can see yourself doing for a long time. Best of luck!
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Nancy’s Answer

Picking a career in college isn’t easy, however you will have so many different avenues to explore while in college. Take advantage of the opportunities on campus and pick a class you will be most passionate about. Remember, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will stick with this career after graduating. Your knowledge and experience will be a benefiting factor towards what you will want your career to be. While in college, expose your self to new jobs, activities, and volunteer! Don’t be afraid to try out something new during this time.


Best regards,

Nancy
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Aicha’s Answer

Hi!

Don't feel as though you have to have everything figured out right now. You do have some very interesting choices that you mention, and you will one day figure out what is you want to do. Make sure your choice is something that you will be motivated to do for a long period of time and something that will be able to support you financially. You still have alot of time to figure this out. This chapter of your life is to experiment to see what it is that you like. You can start by volunteering and shadowing people that are related to your passions.

Good luck! I hope this helps!
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Jamie’s Answer

i see you have education on our list as an option. You could work for a large corporation as a virtual new hire trainer. That would be a great way to work in education but also could open up other options in the corporate world if you werent 100 % invested in school age education.

Parks and Rec sounds fun. Im not too sure if the park or the rec part interests you more..but i would recommend looking into opportunities at a local gym like lifetime for rec type options.
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Nicholas’s Answer

Volunteer! If you have a passion for something today go and seek a volunteer opportunity that relates to it and explore that interest. While in college join clubs and organizations that you find interesting. Colleges and Universities have clubs that range from social justice to face painting and watching anime while face painting. There is a group out there for every interest. Your volunteer opportunities can lead to job opportunities. Your group involvement can lead to lifelong friendships and maybe even personal references for jobs in the future.

Remember one thing. Just because you complete a degree in Marine Biology doesn't mean you will become a Marine Biologist. A four year degree demonstrates that you committed to subject and completed the tests and mastery necessary to attain the degree. It is more likely that your career will develop from your relationships and life experience than from the coursework you take.

My track: I started as a Music Major for two years, then transitioned to Sociology. Worked in the human services industry for ten years and then got a part time job at Universal Orlando for a little fun break. That break has lasted over five years and I'm now on a leadership track. I used my employee benefits to go back to school and earn a Masters in Business Administration. You know what I do with two years of Music? I am the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for a local chorus with a social justice focus.

Don't stress. Follow your heart and your passion. Maybe some day I'll work for you when you open the first Prison Work Release Program focused on employment opportunities in community improvement and wildlife conservation.
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Jessica’s Answer

A few ways that I suggest and share with my kids as well

Volunteer: A great way to see about the options you are interested in is to volunteer. This gives you an opportunity to see a part of the organization, work with the individuals that support it daily and provides you and outlet to ask questions.

Research: Read, listen to podcast or follow IG posts that you have a career interest in. Find a way to keep notes of things that have sparked your interest and the why, so as you continue to learn from exposures you can go back and have a place to keep your thoughts and opinions that may help you make your decision

Network: You may have friends that have parents, family members or friends in your fields of interest. Knowing this and setting up time to chat can help you learn what inspired them to go into the field and what they have learned along the way that can help you make your decision

Have fun: Enjoy the experience of learning about the opportunities that are out there.
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