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How can I figure this mess out?

Nobody in my family has gone to college and finished it. Talking to them about college is like talking to a wall. Google is a good substitute, but the information I've been able to glean is not satisfactory. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do for a living. #college #college-major #college-admissions #college-advice #student

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Subject: Career question for you

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Erik’s Answer

HI Jakaila,

Some good news - most people have no idea what they want to do for a living when they are in high school. I am in sales and did not know that is what I wanted to do until AFTER college. So, don't panic. Two quick pieces of advice:

- Don't worry about your career today. First, look at where you want to go to college. Having a great college experience will save you time and money (you don't want to drop from one school and go to another and lose credits because you don't like the 1st school after a year or two). Do you want to stay local? What size school do you want? Do you want to be in the city or in a rural area, etc.? Find a few schools and apply - the process to apply will be on their website. If you don't know the schools you want - search here as a starting point: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges .

- Don't focus on cost today. You want to be conscious of cost - but don't let it control you (you can always so no to an offer if it is too much money - but you don't know what they will offer until they accept you...). Most schools offer generous scholarships and other finical aid packages - based on need. You should start the financial process here: studentaid.gov - you and your parents fill out the online forms and you will get notified as to what the government will provide as aid - in the form of loans (to you directly - all students get something regardless of parents or student income levels). Addition aid is then automatically applied when you get accepted to a school (this is where they could give scholarships or needs based aid).

These are just two areas to start exploring. I wish you great success!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Having someone tell me not to focus on the costs of college right now is a huge stress-reliever. I'll take your advice and look into colleges! Thanks for the links! Jakaila
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Brayden’s Answer

Hello!

One of the things that I suggest to everyone who doesn't quite know what they want to do is to write down a list of things that you enjoy doing and then use that list to search for jobs that involve the things you enjoy. Now more than ever companies are hiring people for jobs that they might not have the qualifications for but have the motivation and willingness to work and get things done and those are the people that are getting hired. I also thing another great way trying to determine a career path is using hiring sites and looking for companies that you might want to work for first. Then by looking through their job postings you can see if any of them peek your interest and then from there you can see the qualifications to ultimately help determine your next steps.

Hopefully this helps! Good luck!
Thank you comment icon I never thought about going through hiring sites and considering if I want to pursue a career in the jobs listed — I will now, though. Thank you so much! This helped a bunch! Jakaila
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Samantha’s Answer

Look at what you enjoying doing in ypur free time. Then look into professions that included those activities. Then look into schools that your interested in going to either in your state or out.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Jakaila
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Kim’s Answer

Jakaila,

First, take a deep breath! Let it out.

While some of your fellow students seem to have it all figured out, trust me, you're not the only one who doesn't. And, honestly, how are you supposed to know what you like and don't like until you've at least looked it over a little bit. It's like me telling you to go buy a house. What does the house have to have? What is a deal-breaker? Sometimes you might not know it's not a good idea to have the bathroom near the kitchen, until you've experienced it!

So, relax. Suppose you want to work with animals. Broad field. Do you want to train animals? Dog competitions, Police dogs, horses, or ? . . . Maybe judge the competitions. Maybe sell animal foods. Maybe do research and development for animal products - leashes, wheelchairs, etc. Maybe be an FFA instructor. Maybe be a veterinarian or vet tech. Perhaps be a groomer. There's so many different directions you can go, and, what's really neat, is, if you go in one direction and don't like it, you can always go in another direction. It's called "transferrable job skills."

There are various skills and interest surveys you can find on-line. I don't know the best ones, hopefully someone else will provide that in an answer. Every job you can do will have part of it you don't really like doing. Suppose you are a veterinarian, and it's your job not only to care for animals, but to see them through to the end - putting them down.

I think once you start narrowing down what you like or don't like, you can come back here with questions. You may also try searching the questions already answered: such as, "what's a day in the life of a dentist like?" But try just to get a general feel of where you want to go. Because, as I explained above, every general interest can go in a different zillion directions. Do you like working with people? data? your hands -creating things, like artists, or repairing electrical problems?

As far as college, a minimum of 2 years is required for many positions nowadays, and, you always start out with basics - English, History, etc. . . if you are going. If you are interested in skilled trades, they have different programs, and you don't want to go to an academic college if you want to be a mechanic, plumber, electrician, etc. So, try to at least decide if you are interested in skilled trades or not, as that will tell you what type of school you should be considering. Then, come back and tell us more about yourself, ask some more questions, and we'll do our best to help you out!
Thank you comment icon Okay, I'm totally relaxed now. I feel a lot better now that I know about transferrable job skills. I'll take your advice and analyze my likes and dislikes. Thank you so much! Jakaila
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Peter’s Answer

Let me tell you briefly, about my experience in going to College, Jakaila. The first thing to keep in mind is that someone else's experience in attending, but failing to finish, college is in no way related to the potential benefits you could attain by going to college, yourself. So put your family and friends college experiences aside and focus on what YOU want to accomplish.
I can testify that my college experience was absolutely life-changing. I was exposed to a quality, high-powered environment completely beyond what I'd experienced in High School. The breadth of classes and ideas that I was exposed to, the intellectual environment and, of course, the great social environment were highlights of this most pivotal time of my entire life. When you go to College, you need to be "all in" to this very special life and its demands. Strive for the best you can be in your classes. Work hard, but find time for the ample opportunities for fun, as well. I promise that you will emerge transformed and confident in your Future.
As far as your Life's Calling, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a Career until the last Quarter of my Sophomore Year. I took a Biology Class from a very dynamic and inspirational Professor and decided that I wanted to get into that line of work, myself. I graduated with Specialties in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. And then I turned to a rewarding career in Civil Engineering working in the fascinating Field of Water Resources. So from No Clue to potential Research Biologist to Civil Engineer, I found my way through to a most satisfying career and I am sure you will do the same.
Aim High and Stay the Course! -Pete Sturtevant, PE
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