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What if I don't know what I want to do as a career in the future

As a high school student I find many things interesting, but I still don't know what I want to got to college for or even what I want to do as a career. I would appreciate any advice that helped you make this decision. #college #career-choice #career #student

Thank you comment icon Hello!! don't worry at all and don't stress about it. it's completely normal to feel that. my advice would be to explore everything and opportunities so you can have an idea of what you want to do. it's ok to feel that. I'm in college right now and it took me a year to figure what I want to do. good luck on everything. ibtehal A.
Thank you comment icon Hi!! I agree that this is totally normal -- I entered college with a pretty general degree (Psychology) and ended up adding a double major (Environmental Studies) a year and a half later. I would recommend entering college either Undeclared or with a pretty general degree -- try to narrow down what field you like generally (STEM, Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Art, etc) and keep narrowing from there. I'd also recommend taking a few community college courses in fields of interest to see if you actually enjoy taking classes in those subjects, or gaining volunteer experience to try out other fields. Good luck, you got this!! Marlowe M.
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Katherine’s Answer

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Hi Samuel – Like many others said, it’s very normal not to have a clear vision for your college major and career path when you’re in high school. You might consider the following factors to help you decide on a direction:

Interests & Talents – Consider what you enjoy doing but also where your natural talent lies. You may want to ask your peers and teachers what they view as your strengths to get some outside perspective. For example, my teachers identified early on that my written communication skills are stronger than my speaking skills. One of my first jobs required daily public speaking, and I ended up using most of my energy developing skills that didn’t come naturally to me. I’m now in a role that is much more suited to my natural strengths, and I am able to focus more on growing skills that will help advance my career. (It’s always good to develop your weak areas too, but I believe you’ll be more successful if you can capitalize on your strengths.)

Financial Goals – When thinking about a career path, you might consider where you want to be financially in the future. Think honestly about whether you will be fulfilled in a career you are passionate about that doesn’t afford you the lifestyle you want. Some people may desire a more extravagant lifestyle, while others may be happy with a more modest lifestyle if it means following their passion. For me, it is important to achieve a comfortable lifestyle while working in an interesting field that allows me time to pursue hobbies in my free time, so I looked for that balance.

When choosing a college or educational program, be sure to consider the pay range of your desired career path and the expense and potential loans you will incur. I have a Bachelor’s degree from an in-state school that I believe was worth the investment. I have had plenty of colleagues who have MBAs or master’s degrees, some who didn’t pursue education after high school and others who attended programs specific to their career paths like an online data science boot camp offered at Georgia Tech.

Technology & Career Trends – When choosing your college or career path, I would take into consideration macroeconomic and technology trends. You can do online research to determine which career fields are growing. If you don’t have any interest in top growth fields like healthcare and information technology, I would do some research on the future outlook for whichever field you choose. For example, when I started out in my full-time marketing career, I split my time between social media content strategy and graphic design work. I considered attending a portfolio school to further my graphic design skills but ultimately decided focusing on the digital side of my career would be a better investment.

Experience & Flexibility – As others on this thread have mentioned, college is a great time to pursue internships and part-time jobs. Real-world experience will help you narrow down your career plan. During college, I had several internships, including at a wedding planning firm, on a political campaign and at a real estate development company. By the time I graduated, I had an idea of the type of work and environment that best suited me. My major was broad enough that I didn’t change it throughout my college career, but it’s okay to do that too – the earlier the better.

I hope this helps – good luck on your journey!

Katherine recommends the following next steps:

https://www.luc.edu/undergrad/academiclife/whatsmymajorquiz/
Thank you comment icon This is a fantastic answer, Katherine! Thanks for sharing all this great info & including your personal experience. Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Juan’s Answer

There is nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to spend the rest of your life doing when you haven't even graduated highschool. I'd say try your best to look into the careers of fields you are interested in and try to look for any mentors or people in your life who work in those fields. Do more research in the field and don't be afraid to put work into finding answers to your questions, go on reddit or forums and ask questions you feel need to be answered for you to pursue that field. The average students will switch majors multiple times because they will discover too late that the career they pursued was not what they envisioned it to be. There is nothing wrong with going in undeclared or going to community college and use that time to find out what you want to do with your life.
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Eleanor’s Answer

It is totally normal to not have a clear picture of where you life will end up while you're in high school. Honestly, people who do have a clear picture of where their life will end up during high school will many times discover that life has other plans!

That being said, taking on the expense and commitment of college isn't a decision to be made frivolously. So my advice to you would be to spend some time thinking through where your interests and aptitudes lie, and then figure out how you can work those into your life either professionally or as a hobby. For example, if you're really interested in optimizing the accessibility of healthcare, and you're really good at math, you might consider pursuing a degree in Data Analytics, which leads to a career in healthcare management. Or whatever.

If you really have zero idea on what you want to do (or are so overwhelmed with possibilities that you can't decide), there is nothing wrong with knocking out the Gen Eds (those basic classes everyone has to take) at a community college (waaaaaaaaay cheaper) or even taking a year to just start working somewhere while you figure it out. Don't just go to college for the sake of going to college.
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Melanie’s Answer

Well, the good thing is that you don't need to lock in exactly what you graduate from in the first two years. I would say, start in college with what you generally feel more attracted to - i.e. business school, bioscience, engineering, etc... you can likely spend the first, or even second year taking classes that are transferable among the different degrees in that school. In this way, you are advancing towards something while still leaving your final options open.
Be sure to use part of your time in the 1st and 2nd year researching more about the different fields you can go in to work & asking other professionals what they do day-to day to try an d understand which of those careers you would like best.
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Cyndi’s Answer

Hi Samuel, it's ok if you are unsure what you would like to pursue for college. You can always not declare a major for your freshman year and take the general courses while trying to find out what you're passionate for. Talk to other people and see what are your options. Take up internships/apprenticeships and get on a job for a few months to see if that's something you'll like doing. Talk to your career counselors and explore your options. You can also try looking up some personality quizzes and see what you're more aligned with. Good luck!!
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Aastha’s Answer

Hey! Like everyone mentioned above that is completely fine! Especially in this day and age everyone feels so pressured to have everything figured out at such a young age. You have plenty of time to figure everything out! All will fall into place at the right time and the right place for you. I didn't know what I wanted to do till I was around 21-22! Give yourself the time to grow and find your passions.
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Shruti’s Answer

Hi!

I think college is the best time to try out different roles as an intern. You will be able to learn where your passion lies from classes and experience. Many people don't know what they want to do in the future and learn slowly through many different roles that they do over some time.
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Brianna’s Answer

Hi Samuel, I struggled with this a lot when I was in high school too. I hated being asked the question of "what do you like to do," because I had not enjoyed anything I learned in school besides during lunchtime with my friends. I realized how much I valued my conversations with them and the great communication that I have with them, so I actually started pursuing communication now in college! I think it definitely takes time to decide on a career, and it's normal to feel that way! A lot of us are still trying to figure out what career we want, even for those who have a career and a stable life to support themselves.
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Baljinder’s Answer

I would say .First make a list of top 5 fields which you think are matching with your interest or you think would be something you would like to explore.
Try finding internship or part time jobs in those area of interest field. And keep going with your college side by side with general subjects related to your interest. It would give you some kind of starting point (College) and tell you how your day to day work life would be after graduating (Internship or part time job).
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Samuel.

You are like most people although some would probably not admit it. It is hard to know what you want to do. I didn't know until I was nearly 30, not with 100% confidence. So be patient with yourself. It sounds like you are ready to go from high school right into college. I would definitely support that idea too. You are already good at school so why not continue? I would recommend three options of starting out college undecided.

1- Just start college by taking all of your basic classes. Each college has a set of courses required for all students. And the basic classes are across a wide range of subjects, allowing you to get a taste of a lot of subjects that you may not have even heard of before. Here is an example of the Foundation courses for my alma mater, Boise State University. Note: You need 37 credits across about 8 areas of study - https://www.boisestate.edu/registrar-catalog/#/programs/SyUvZgcKv?bc=true&bcCurrent=University%20Foundations&bcGroup=University%20Foundations&bcItemType=programs. From here you can see that you are going to get exposure to a lot of subjects. And you choose the ones that meet the requirement. I took archeology as I wanted to be a female Indiana Jones. Then I learned that the subject has ALOT of science and math. And I learned what I already knew - that science and math would not be passions of mine.

2- Consider starting college with a Liberal Arts major. A Liberal Arts program covers a lot of different subjects, giving you a deeper look at specific subjects related to the Arts. Like the taking of basic classes, you choose a lot of your focus areas but having a major gives you a roadmap for the full four-year experience.

3 - Consider starting college with a very broad major in a subject that you love. When I think of this, I think of an English degree. Writing is my passion and this subject matter would hold my interest for four years. I began my college career trying to choose more specific subjects that already implied a career (Journalism). Then when I found Journalism too competitive, I went looking for another degree that implied a career. Because I didn't know what I wanted to do, I kept changing majors. And guess what? Some of my most successful friends have what I would call generic degrees - English, Business, Computer Science, Mathematics. They focused on the subject that they loved and then picked a job.

Whatever you do, I would say this, finish a degree as soon as possible. I took 17 years to get my Bachelor's degree. I wasted money and time going this route. Get the degree program done. I learned in my work life that having any degree is more valuable than having the right degree. (NOTE: There are some jobs that have to have specific degrees like Medical fields and law.) For the most part, companies look to see if you have a degree since getting one is like having a very hard job. You get through that and you can do a lot of different jobs.

Good luck on your college career. You will find what your passion eventually. Just keep looking and moving forward.

Gloria
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Rebecca’s Answer

Have you thought about any hobbies or favorite subjects you would like to work on something related in the future? I suggest you can try approach below :
1. Think of any hobbies or your favourite subjects and identify any related career you may have interest, e.g. if you are interested in Maths, would you like to be an accountant, maths teacher. If you are interested in Music, would you like to be a composer, singer, musician, music teacher, etc.
2. You may have identify a number of careers. You can explore more on these careers and short list a few of them you really like to work on.
3. You can then try to locate someone working in the industry to understand more on the career. Alternatively, you can discuss with the career counselor in your school.
4. You may shortlist 1-2 career at this stage. You can find out the relevant subjects in the college and the entry criteria.
5. After entering into the college, you can explore any intern opportunities to work in the industry. It can give you better understand how the industry works.
Having said that, your interest may change in the future. You can change your career when you r interest change.
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Chuck’s Answer

I agree with the comments and answer given. Indecision at this point is normal. It may be uncomfortable but definitely not a reason to panic. I think I changed my major 4 times. You may find a school/program that lets you get creative in crafting a minor area of study, or even a hybrid major.
I'm confident that you have what it takes to figure it out, because you possess the most important quality: curiosity. You said it yourself:
"I find many things interesting."
And that is the key!
Onward my friend!
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Madisyn’s Answer

A future career is a big decision. It's very normal that you don't know what you want to do as a career yet. Many people at this stage of life have the same dilemma.

My advice would be to research careers that interest you and take personality quizzes to help you see which jobs may be suitable for you. Once you start to narrow it down, you could choose your major based on your most liked career path. If you don't like that major after taking classes, you can always switch to another choice that interests you. Now, if you like multiple career choices equally then you can go into college undecided and take a few courses in each major to help decide what you want your career to be. It's also important to note that you can have multiple majors and minors in order to create a path that works best for you.
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