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For someone who has no clue what direction they want to go. what advice would you have for me right now while I am in highschool?

I thought that I wanted to be a dental hygienist for most of highschool, but last year when I went to job shadow one I realized how much I really didn't want to do that forever. I have no clue what direction I want to go and as I am now a senior I am getting worried because I feel like I need to figure that out soon. #career-choice #careers


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Rola’s Answer

Try to discover your career passion. It is not related to grades as you may be receiving high grades in a subject that is not your interest. Try to think about your talents/interests when you pick your specializations. Speak to people in different jobs and ask them what they like must and what they dislike most in their careers. Try also to think about the competitive markets and mainly in career opps markets in you country and have a look at the future projections for career in your country. You do not want to study for 4 years or so in a specialization that is already crowded with unemployed graduates! Unfortunately many people are falling in this trap.
I do recommend Artifical Intelligence/Big Data/Robotics/Clouds/Genetic Engineering/Cyber Security as they are all green fields for innovations:)

Thank you so much for your answer Rola! It means a lot to hear your feedback!! Grace P.

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Debra’s Answer

Hi Grace,
My advice is to think about things that make you happy and that you enjoy doing. Look for your strengths....if you like numbers, then maybe the finance world. If you love animals, then perhaps the veterinarian world or if that's too intense, manage a petcare hotel/center or a grooming salon. The most important gift you can give yourself is a career that you love doing for then it never seems like work!!

Thank you Debra! I agree 100% that you need to choose a career that you love! Grace P.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Grace,

Don't worry you need to figure it out now. I understand what it's like to feel lost. I went to college straight out of high school undeclared. I picked Marketing as my major and sadly entered the workforce in 2008. I didn't follow any traditional career path and I now work in Cybersecurity for a Fortune 100 Company.

I recommend you continue to shadow jobs. I did this when I was changing careers and even was able work on projects I could add to my resume along the way. Have you thought of what industry you want to work in? Jobs responsibilities and company culture can vary within industries. For example, working at a bank versus a start-up.

While you are deciding, sign-up for code academy and learn for free! Learning transferrable skills will open many doors! (https://www.codecademy.com/)

Thank you Jennifer! I definitely will hopefully be going on more job shadows soon! Grace P.

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Marie’s Answer

Hi Grace,
I remember having a very hard time deciding on a career in high school. I liked so many things it was hard to know what I would like best, or what I would be good at. But that is okay. Your decision on what to do after high school is the first of many career decisions you will make during your lifetime. Remember that very few decisions are irreversible. Sometimes you have to try something to see if it is right for you.

Have you thought about going to college without a declared major? Many colleges allow you to apply without deciding on a major.

Here are a few articles that might be helpful:
https://www.usnewsglobaleducation.com/all-advice/is-it-okay-to-have-an-undecided-major/
https://studybreaks.com/college/undecided-how-to-pick-college-major/

Good Luck!
-Marie






Thank you Marie! I did not think about looking into undeclared colleges but I will for sure start! Grace P.

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Denise’s Answer

Hi Grace! Try and figure out what's your passion. If you feel like nothing is inspiring you, guess what, that's ok! I currently just made a change in my career and I'm in my 30s. I went from being an executive assistant to a UX designer. I enjoy both fields but love being a designer and that makes the difference in my job duties. No matter what career path you choose to walk down just make sure you choose something you enjoy doing. You can also start by volunteering at places you would like to start understanding how certain industries function and understand a workplace environment.

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Maria’s Answer

Hi Grace,

Try to have as many mentors as you can who can guide you and provide honest and meaningful advice. Choose people that you trust and sincere in helping you become a successful person. Follow up and find the time to spend with them on a regular basis or when your schedule allows, even briefly. If you have the opportunity to visit with them during work hours, just to see how their daily routine is like, go for it! Most likely, you'll learn a thing or two, plus there's also the chance to connect with other professionals in their industry.
I hope this helps and good luck with your career choice!

Thank you so much for your feedback Maria! Grace P.

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Ruth’s Answer

Hi Grace,

I think you mention a great point about doing shadow work to figure out whether you would enjoy a career in the dental field. I think you should apply for more shadow work in as many fields as you can that sound interesting to you. Gaining a small bit of experience will then hopefully help you narrow down what you mostly enjoy.

If there is nothing you are slightly interested in and you don't know where to begin shadow work in, I also suggest you making a list of things you like doing, and another list of things you are good at. In the end, see if there are any activities/hobbies that overlap and perhaps start there!

Best of luck!

Thank you! Grace P.

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Gina’s Answer

I'd start by figuring out what your truly like to do-- hobbies/interests-- and do some research from there. There are many places where you could do volunteer work to start out to see where you best fit. Also, taking a personality test may help- it may give you ideas of careers you never thought of!

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Marica’s Answer

It's OK to not know! But, you have interests and things you love to do. Really spend some time figuring out what makes you happy. I remember not knowing exactly what I wanted to do but I knew I wanted to be in the business/finance field. I ended up in commercial property/casualty insurance which ended up being exactly where I should be!! It's a great mix of technical skills and marketing with our agents and I get to utilize my strengths to be successful in a career I truly enjoy!


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Kathryn’s Answer

Hi Grace!

I am so glad that you shadowed in high school and discovered what you didn't want to do so early - that's awesome!
I was all over the map on potential career paths through high school, so I can definitely relate to how you're feeling.
My advice may run a little contrary, but it worked for me: go "all-in" whichever direction you're most interested. I think the fastest way to finding out if something is right or wrong is to immerse yourself in a path. Very similar to how you ardently pursued being a dental hygienist and then were able to eliminate it.
Personally, I declared a major (Business) a bit on a whim. Declaring a major made me eligible for a leadership program and scholarships that I otherwise would not have even known about. Plus, I was getting to take business classes freshman year and joined student organizations in the business school.
Ultimately, my whim on a major was right and I never looked back. But if it had turned out not to be the right fit, I am sure that I would have realized it more quickly because I was so involved.
Conversely, when it came to choosing a career path I had my sights set on a particular industry throughout college and then found during an internship between junior/senior year that it was not the right fit. Again - this reinforced to me the importance of getting immersive experiences early. You may strike out or you may strike gold - but you will find out fast!

If you're having trouble finding a whim to pursue, consider what it was that initially drew you to becoming a dental hygienist. Is the medical field appealing? Maybe consider what former dental hygienists moved on to as you likely have similar interests. I happened to find a website that has the top jobs of former dental hygienists - maybe something there will spark an idea: https://www.zippia.com/advice/exciting-jobs-former-dental-hygienist/.

I hope this helps! Good luck on your future endeavors!
Kathryn

Kathryn recommends the following next steps:

Go "all-in" whichever direction you're most interested in.
Consider what initially drew you to dental hygiene and look for commonalities in other fields.

Kathryn! Thank you for your advice! I will definitely keep it in mind! Grace P.

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Grace!

Don't be worried..you have time. I have a few thoughts here and I hope this helps. By the way, I'm a retired registered nurse. My first love and career was in music which lasted about the first 10 years of my adult life. I found myself alone, raising my son, so I decided to go back to school for nursing (my second love) which proved to be the best thing I could have done. My nursing career was extremely positive in so many ways.

So, please consider the following:

1. Talk to your high school counselor about your current thought processes and concerns.

2. Talk to your parents (if this is appropriate for you)

3. Consider taking a gap year either working or volunteering. Here is some info:

3A. https://counseling.steinhardt.nyu.edu/blog/gap-year-after-high-school/

3B. https://www.princetonreview.com/study-abroad/college-abroad/gap-year

3C. https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2019/06/10/heres-every-reason-you-should-take-a-gap-year-before-college/#325ee77d1ac8

4. Consider going to a community college to earn your pre-requisites for an associate degree which would easily transfer to most 4-year bachelor's programs

4A. https://www.mccneb.edu/

5. Consider other healthcare careers: https://www.besthealthdegrees.com/careers/top-10-healthcare-careers-for-the-future

(Copy and paste the URLs into your web browser)

It appears that you are interested in human health and wellbeing. You may want to probe this interest to see if there are other options that you can see yourself doing every day. I can vouch for nursing, but there are many other options to investigate. There will be some of the basic sciences needed, so you can focus on these classes if you decide to go to your community college for a year or two.

Keep in mind that the COVID19 pandemic has upended the world as it functioned previously. Traveling abroad is just not as easy. You will need to carefully research any gap-year projects that involve travel. Right now, many universities and colleges have only online classes, so freshmen students are missing out on campus life activities. Waiting a year would allow for the current situation to stabilize. As a healthcare professional, I can say this with certainty: Covid19 is not going to disappear. Viruses, once they have entered the human population and spread, do not go back into the original source animal. Additionally, science is just beginning to understand this virus. There are no drugs we have yet to help with early Covid19 symptoms other than when it makes people really sick. They only have a glim idea of why it sickens some and not others. In the meantime, we may all have to use public health measures for a very long time. I suggest getting very used to wearing a mask no matter where you are in the world. It is really basic common sense. Don't catch it and try not to spread it.

I really hope this helps. I remember feeling very lost as well when I left high school. It will be ok. Just be well and safe. Ultimately, I hope you find something that you love and that helps to make the world a better place.

Best,
Sue

Thank you so much! You are so helpful. I will definitely be looking into those websites you listed. Stay safe! Grace P.

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christine’s Answer

Hi Grace!
There is a book that you might find helpful. It's called , "What color is your parachute for teens." You might find it in your public library.
Best of luck to you as you explore!

Thanks Christine! I will have to check that book out for sure! Grace P.

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MARCUS’s Answer

Grace, I understand your dilemma in trying to map out the rest of your life before you graduate high school. However, you do have options to volunteer over the summer in varies industries, attend a community college, or develop a plan for an online business. Best wishes.

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MARCUS’s Answer

Grace, I understand your dilemma in trying to map out the rest of your life before you graduate high school. However, you do have options to volunteer over the summer in varies industries, attend a community college, or develop a plan for an online business. Best wishes.

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Aaron’s Answer

Hi Grace,

To figure out what direction you want to go after high school I would first figure out what are your interests such as hobbies. After you figure out what are your interests then you research career skills that fall under these interests. For example if you like to write then the career skill of typing on a computer falls under this interest. When you research the career skills that fall under your interests then research career opportunities that are available while using these skills to figure out what career you would like to enter or study. After selecting a career opportunity you would like to enter or study conduct more research on the steps to working in this opportunity such as degrees that need to be obtained in order to work in this field. Hope this helps.

-Thank you,
Aaron

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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Grace. When I was in your position, I was also not sure about the career path I wanted to take either. However, I looked at the subjects that peaked my interests and researched related career paths to make a decision. Choosing a career path can put a lot of pressure on you, especially at a time when you are expected to juggle the studying, too. Such challenging times make every student confused.

Choosing your career path is a tough process that requires careful thinking and a lot of planning. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Try these steps to help you make a choice that will work for you.

Step 1: Make a List of Occupations You Want to Pursue. Every high school student probably has multiple lists of occupations they want to pursue. This is neither strange, nor a disadvantage, since big lists give you various choices and perspectives. The first step on how to choose a career for high school students is to make a list that contains all these occupations, starting from the ones you wanted as a little child or became interested in during your high school education, to even the most bizarre or strange ideas that come across your mind. Your first list will help you make sure that you haven’t missed anything when you make the final choice.

Step 2: Explore All Occupations on the Big List. This is the part no student ever likes – research. However, this research is not the specific, strict type of research you do for your papers. This is the research where you read fun articles, get informed on your dream careers and basically, learn more about every occupation from your big list. Fortunately, you don’t have to get to your final career choice here, but to only 10 to 20 career options. Look at this step as the first round of eliminations!

Check resources (do some research), talk to others (discuss potential career paths with professionals in prospective career paths if possible) and assess yourself -- your final decision on which career path to choose should be based on yourself and yourself only. This is the point where you ask the following questions: What do you want to be? Take your time to think hard on this matter. Your choice of a career and education will be the main determinant on what your future will look like.

Step 3: Create the Short List. It is time for the second round of eliminations. You have probably eliminated several career choices during step two, but it is now time to narrow it down even further. Take a look at your career choices once again and start eliminating based on what you have learned. You should end up with a list of no more than five occupations. Once you have this list, you are ready for the final round of eliminations.

Step 4: Make the Final Choice. At this point, you should feel ready to answer the question “How to choose a career path?” and make the final choice. Pick the occupation that will bring most satisfaction to you, will fit your skills and goals for the future.

Step 5: Make a Career Plan. Different careers require different sets of skills, talents and qualifications. By the time you have chosen your career path, you will already know what the requirements for your chosen career path are. It is time to make the career plan. Making this plan ahead will help you reach your goals and get on the right path to get a great job. Do you need to enroll in college to pursue your career? If yes, what are your best college choices? Will you start pursuing the career right away? Where are you planning to work? This plan should include any barriers that may exist to achieving your goals, as well as the best ways to overcome them.

The research you did about your future career and training should guide you in choosing a perfect career path. Once you have all the information you need to make a choice, you can start applying to jobs or colleges, and setting your future goals. When the time comes to get your high school diploma, your next journey is to focus on fulfilling both long-time and short-term goals, and your career is a great part of what awaits.

Good luck!

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day Wayne! I will definitely keep your advice in mind! Grace P.

You're very welcome! Take care! Wayne Archibald

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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Grace,

It's ok to be unsure of how you want to spend your life. If you focus on what you love and where your talents lie; it's a good start!

When I was finishing high school I really had no idea what I wanted to do and it seemed a huge decision to make at the time. I only knew I wanted to go to college so I started with a local junior college and obtained my Associate of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies; which is a little bit of everything. I used this time to explore the different courses and possibilities. I also took part time jobs through a temporary agency which helped me learn about a lot of different jobs in different industries. It also gave me some very valuable work experience! Once I obtained my AA degree, I transferred to a 4-year university to complete my Bachelor's Degree.

I love a book called "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Book by Donald O. Clifton and Marcus Buckingham. It helped me identify my natural talents and taught me how to succeed using my most powerful natural talents.

I wish you luck; take your time and discover who you are and what you love and things will fall into place. Sometimes it takes a little time so be patient and don't be so hard on yourself. This is a time in life for you to explore and try different things on!

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Ramona’s Answer

Great question, Grace...As most have already said, you should not worry about having it all figured out at this point in your life. This is your opportunity to try different areas of interest. What hobbies do you enjoy, have been curious about or have heard others say, "you'd be good at that"? And as you did with the dental hygienist, see if there are opportunities to shadow with others if those fields. In addition, high schools offer career assessments, where it explores your interests and ways of thinking, and provides suggestions based on the way you fill out the assessment. Your counselor can help with that. There's nothing wrong with trying something for a while and then discovering you'd prefer to do something else. If you are thinking of taking college courses, the first years are usually focused on general classes, which will also give you exposure to a wide array of topics and career paths. Stay curious and try not to feel you have to figure it all out. Good luck.

Ramona! Thank you so much for your feedback. Any and all advice is helpful, so thank you! Grace P.

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Ben’s Answer

You don't have to have all the answers about what career/trade you will pursue. There are some great resources on growing industries and jobs might be informative when looking for inspiration. I would encourage you to explore employment trends in the Bureau of Labor Statistics link below.

I was envious of my peers who always knew exactly what employment path they wanted to pursue after high school, but I never had a strong inclination towards a particular career. During my senior year of high school, I was lovingly reproached by a grandparent for not having a specific career/trade in mind. They only wanted the best for me in life, but they expressed the belief that I would be wasting my time (and money) unless my next stage of education was targeted at a specific career/trade. I ultimately chose to go to college and planned to figure out work as I went. For me, that path was successful, and after graduation I found an employer offering positions in a growing industry that interested me.

I have been able to stay with the same employer since graduation, but I have moved into different jobs as the employer and industry have expanded. What I do today is very different from my first position within my organization, but the one constant has been continued education. My employer offers robust internal education support, and I have also sought out external education in the form of a graduate degree and multiple industry certifications.

I never loved school, but once I found an industry that I enjoyed, pursuing ongoing education around that industry has been enjoyable.




Ben recommends the following next steps:

Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Ben! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to reply!! It was very helpful! Grace P.

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