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How do you know when to choose your career and be sure it is the right one?

I am a senior heading to college but still do not know what i want to pursue as my career. #career-counseling #career-development

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Subject: Career question for you

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Doc’s Answer

Kimberly DO NOT declare your college major if you haven't had an oprotunity to explored all your options yet. Choosing a college major is…well, a major decision, and should not be taken lightly. Entering college with an undeclared major allows you to avoid making a commitment you're not comfortable with for the entirety of your college career. Remember: being undecided does not mean you can't or won't make a decision. You've simply chosen not to commit at this time.

Who doesn't like to sample a variety of foods before selecting a main entrée? Being undeclared allows you to take courses in a wide range of subjects, and you can hone in on a career and academic path based on the courses you enjoy. An added advantage: advisors can guide you to general education courses that fulfill requirements in a number of majors, so you're able to explore and meet your requirements at the same time. The good news is that you don't need to be in the decision-making process alone. Colleges and universities offer many services to help students decide which careers might be best for them. Many colleges also offer exploratory courses in a variety of fields to provide students with ways to learn more and discover their interests further. Career counselors, academic advisors and professors can help you make decisions on courses and programs that could lead to a specific career. Being undeclared can ensure that you take full advantage of all the resources your school offers.

Being undeclared when you enter college could have a financial advantage also. If you spend your first year or two pursuing a major and then decide to change, some or many of the courses you've previously taken may not count toward your new major. You might wind up having to attend school for an extra semester or two, or even longer, as you start over again. This will likely result in spending more money on your college education. Being undeclared while you finalize your decisions can help you avoid this pitfall. In other words, take time to reflect. What motivates you? What are your particular interests? What do you see yourself doing five, ten, or twenty years down the road? It's not so important to know the answer to these questions on the first day of classes. Some self-exploration is vital to making the right choices about which academic path you end up following. Being aware of your personality and likes and dislikes are important first steps.

Happy Hunting Kimberly
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Priscilla’s Answer

Hello Kimberly!!
Hi! I've been in multiple roles in my life (I'm in by 40s now). I started in IT, then HR, and now I work as Product Manager in a Financial institution (I graduated from Business Administrator, which is an amazing way to keep your options open - HR, Marketing, Finance, etc).
People change as they progress in life. Something that motivates and interest you may not be the same 20 years from now. So I would say keep your mind and your eyes open. Don't get too worried about having to choose one career and thinking that you need to stick with that. As long as you're growing (more senior positions, compensation, or personal achievement), you're good.
Good luck!!
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Tricia’s Answer

Think about what you enjoy (extracurricular), and what you are good at academically. I’d also suggest getting input from favorite teachers, mentors, coaches, people who know you. Ask them for input. I too wasn’t sure what field I wanted to go into. I loved art, but wanted to lead projects. My art teacher suggested advertising. It led me on my path to sales. 😊

Tricia recommends the following next steps:

Ask for input from people who know you are your value
Combine what you enjoy with what you’re good at
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Luis’s Answer

Kimberly,

The fact that you're a senior in high school and you don't know what you want to do or be in life...it's 100% OK. Honestly, many if not most adults and peers I've come across don't really know what they want to do professionally or end up not enjoying what they do. It's completely normal and fine that you don't know what to do yet, so please be encouraged :)

FYI I changed my major while in college, which is very common, and although I went to school for Economics & Accounting and worked in Corporate Finance for 5 years, I ended up changing careers to Human Resources & Recruiting due to a realization of passion for something completely different. It's not unheard of for people to have different jobs and careers throughout their life, but my first career helps me so much in what I do now with my passion.

You can go undeclared to university and it's completely fine, as you'll usually find something you're interested in and good at while in school. You could also pursue a degree/program that is in demand but low supply at that school and use that to your advantage in applications or you can get a degree in something general that's safe, a great backup plan and helps you in anything, like Business Management. What I will advise is #1 pursue and do something you love and you're passionate about, as that will serve you well and money comes and goes. If you're not sure what that is yet it's ok, just do research on careers and speak with career / college advisors. Take personality tests like Myers-Briggs to learn more about you, how you operate, what you like and how that translates into what careers out there best suit your personality.
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Janet’s Answer

Hi Kimberly,
Thanks for asking...it's a big decision to try and make. The first couple of years you can go in undecided and take many of your required classes. That gives you some room to explore potential paths. I also highly recommend volunteering in a lot of different areas. It exposes you to potential paths for your future, and likely put you in contact with adults you can ask questions to.

Also, just because you graduate with a degree in one area, does not mean that is the only area you can work in! I graduated with a Fashion Merchandising / Business major: I worked for a national retailer in their buying office, then for a wholesale toy importer, and now work for a multinational pharmaceutical company! That all happened because I had a solid business background starting with my college classes.

My last piece of advice for undecided students is to consider going to a local community college for the first year or two. You'll save a ton of money, get to explore various areas of interest, maybe even do a co-op work / study program in an area you'd like to know more about. Then transfer into a 4 year university of your choice to pursue your dreams further. Good luck to you!
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