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When and how do you decide what you would like to do for the rest of your life, especially when it comes to picking your major?

It is extremely stressful to try and determine what specific thing a person can do for the rest of their life that will make them happy. I do not want to choose the wrong job or major and find out that I actually am no longer interested in that subject anymore. I am worried that I will go through school thinking I am interested in something and once I obtain an actual occupation that adheres to that major or subject, I will no longer love what I am doing. How do I know what will make me happy but will also be enough to take care of a family with?

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Priscilla’s Answer

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.
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Joseph’s Answer

This is a question which ponders most young adults BUT after you enter the workplace you began to see that early in career your first job may not be the lifetime job. In todays world I suggest working in a exciting and energy filled place which will give you the best chance to learn and possibly move into other aspects of what may interest you. People are no longer doing the 30-40yr staying at same job. I have mentored students into not staying at the same job early in there career. Especially if you get bored. Move around and always keep your LinkedIn active to see how much you may be worth and the companies that may be coming at you for opportunities.

Hope this helps.
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Jacqueline’s Answer

"When and how do you decide what you would like to do for the rest of your life?" - constantly :)

Life presents itself in amazing ways and our interests can change drastically as we encounter new people, events or even move to new location to live in. Sometimes these are curved balls thrown your way, but persistence, resilience and willingness to embrace something new will bring you success and a sense of purpose, happiness.

the first step i recommend is choosing the subject that interest you most, and talk to lecturers, professionals in that field of study to get a preview of their work experience and challenges. learning something and staying engaged in school and work is not easy. Sometime you need time to acquire experience & skills to love what you do. After talking to people, try to visualize what success will look like for you in future.

Sometimes we dont love what we do, also because of the environment or that it didnt connect with our purpose in life. You could consider outcomes of the job (environment, sense of purpose, financials) and more importantly how the job relate to your personal core values. Consider building on people related skills, acquiring empathy and working well with others. When you have a great team, it is fun and you can do better at work, which in turn relates to progression and financial stability.

last but not least, time changes everything in life. it is rarely a path we set to do, but one we can adapt to live the life we want. Hope this helps and all the best!
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Nivin’s Answer

What makes you happy? That question has to answered (found) by you through your upbringing, goals in life, self honesty and the experiences you have yet to encounter. Regardless in a professional perspective, if your objective is to become an independent, successful individual; you probably already know what you should/could do (technology, medicine, law etc). This leads us back to the root question, which of these fields make you happy? You need to able to define a balance between the life you want for yourself and how to attain that vision with a career that helps you get there WHILE recognizing that you might (MOST PROBABLY) have to sacrifice something to keep the scale even (Happiness vs Vision). Its just life.

Trying things and learning about new domains shouldn't frighten you, because this is how one learns what they enjoy. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, because that is where you learn who you are and how you react to adversity. Its life.

Just want to conclude by saying it is extremely common for people to switch majors, MULTIPLE TIMES, in college (I know folks that thought they were going to be an IT professional and ended up taking extra courses after they attained their IT bachelors to help them meet the requirement to go to Med school). Once you enter the university system, you will meet others who have these questions as well or vice versa that have an answer for them which will help you either figure it out together or know how to implement solutions that others have learned through their journey into your life.

I hope this helps. I made plenty of mistakes. Thought I was going to be a Physical therapist. Dropped out before obtaining my bachelors. Came back to school 4 years later to get a Computer Science degree and graduated at 30 years old.

Nivin recommends the following next steps:

Stop Worrying.
Don't be afraid to make Mistakes.
Always be honest with yourself.
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