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How do I, as a high schooler, figure out exactly what I'm interested in career wise?

All my life, I've always wanted to go into medicine, but recently I've been having doubts as 10 years of medical school sounds daunting and expensive. I'm trying to look for more options and see if medicine truly is the path for me so I'm taking a lot of experimental classes such as computer science, graphic design, medical interventions, and psychology...and I love all of them. I truly just love learning about all of them. Now I'm even more confused and I want to try to get some sort of experience in each field this year so that I can figure out what I like and have a game plan when I get to college, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that. I'm already volunteering at a hospital but how can I experience work as a graphic designer or a computer scientist as a 15 year old with very little experience? #computer-science #medicine #psychology #college-major #graphic-design #volunteering #hiring

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Joanne’s Answer

Keep up the enthusiasm .. there's no reason to lock into any career at this point :)


Keep playing with different things (i.e. get a raspberry PI and you can have some fun with coding).


Also, speak with your guidance counselor at the high school. There are a myriad of "self-help" books ("What color is your parachute?" comes to mind) and the personality profile exercises (Myers-Briggs) that are really helpful in allowing you to narrow down (a little).


Enjoy the experiences!

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Hannah’s Answer

Hi Shruthi!


It is so wonderful that you are already trying to landscape your future. I applaud you for trying out different areas to see what your true passion is.


Continue to try out different interests, even if they seem outlandish. A class in underwater basket weaving may teach you that you want to be a NASA engineer. You never know. Most professionals fall in to their jobs by continuing to pursue their interests.


Take stock of what it is about yourself that enjoys specific areas of study. For example, why are you interested in medicine? Do you like helping? Are you interested in researching the cause of diseases? Do you want to work hands-on? Once you know these things about yourself, you can start finding jobs that match this profile.


And keep in mind that passions can be combined. Maybe someday you will be working in the Marketing Department doing graphic design for Kaiser Permanente. Or using those programming skills to create a better medical records system. Keep experimenting and learning about yourself!

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Richard’s Answer

Find mentors in each of those fields. Try to shadow people in the different professions.
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Jim’s Answer

One thing I learned having changed Majors while in college several times is: regardless of what initial path you take, focus on getting All your general education requirements done FIRST.
1. It provides you more time to see where your true passion lies...
2. General ed requirements are there for every major, so if you change your mind (as most college students do) all your general ed will go to another major....
3. If you transfer to another school most all general ed classes will carry over.
Frequently kids dive right in to a choice ie being a doctor....take "medical classes" then change their mind and go into something else....ie advanced biology will not help an accounting major, you waste the time, the credit, and the money.
Although doing general ed feels in some ways like high school, they have to be done, and in college they usually give you a greater variety of math-english-science-history stuff....see 1-3 again. Best of luck!!

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Eric’s Answer

Hi, Shruthi!


To start with, it's great that you are enjoying everything so much. As Joanne said, keep up the enthusiasm!


For computer science in particular, there's a surprising amount you can do as a 15-year-old, if you can have reliable access to a computer (even if that means, say, a library you can go for a few hours after school when possible).


Playing with things is indeed an excellent start. At your age, I was writing a lot of computer games, because I like games and making my own, even if they were simple, was really rewarding. A Raspberry Pi can let you do some cool things (and may also indicate if you like working with hardware, not just software, which could indicate studying embedded systems). You can also write Web pages, which, these days, can be surprisingly complex. codeacademy.com is a pretty good place to learn a lot of common languages.


Once you have learned a bit of programming, you can work on your own projects, trying to see if you can make things you wish existed, and you can also look into Open Source Software, which is software with public code that anyone can read and suggest edits to. Lots of popular programs, like Firefox, are Open Source!


Finally, for your general concern, note that there are many interesting ways to combine things. I was studying to be a physicist at one point, but since I also knew how to program, I was extra valuable in the lab where I was working because I could help with the experiments, and then write programs to help analyze the experiments. If you have a passion for helping to keep people healthy, but find that you prefer programming to actually being a doctor, there are definitely many jobs available.


Hope this helps!

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