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What is the best way to manage opposing career paths?

What is the best way to manage and balance career paths that look like they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum but both appeal to you? Is there an in-between? #Fall22 #fall22

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Subject: Career question for you

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Randall’s Answer

Hello!
It would likely help if I knew what are the conflicting interests which concern you. Sometimes differing disciplines really do have bridges you may not know about. Of course, the advice you have already been given apply, such as volunteering or maybe finding faculty or professional organizations with people you can chat with to make it clear which subject you may prefer. You also can go to a college or university and take introductory courses in the two subjects and see how they work for you. No time is lost, after all you will do well to have course electives in your college experience!

I was interested in everything when I started as an undergraduate. I took courses in geology, biology, anthropology, economics and so forth. I ended up focused on toxicology and entomology. So my advisor said to find a graduate program in insecticide toxicology. This worked out for me quite well. However, I continued to be interested in astronomy as well and, needless to say there aren't many insects involved in astronomy unless they are biting you when observing at night! I took courses in astronomy and continue to keep it close to my chest as a hobby. I give lectures at a local observatory and host telescope nights. So indeed you may find one of your interests would serve you best as a serious hobby. You can still get a lot out of it.
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Derek’s Answer

No knowing what these opposite paths are, I agree with Aleshia's approach of volunteering and also conducting lots of information interviews. But is a choice really needed? A lot of historically and seemingly incongruent fields are crossing over (data science and humanities). In some ways, explore what the cross road of A interest and B interest is. What does that look like? Maybe the world needs that hybrid of skills and this becomes less of a binary choice?
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your support, Derek Idongesit
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Aleshia’s Answer

Hi Idongesit!
My recommendation would be to find opportunities to volunteer in each field to determine if they are both truly appealing to you.
Typically we think we're interested in a field until we have an opportunity to shadow someone who does that type of job. Interview people who work in those careers to ask about the pros and cons of their career choice. Hopefully that'll help you narrow it down.
Depending on the 2 options, some opposite careers can build on one another, for example, an healthcare professional obtains a law degree could work specifically in medical malpractice law.

Best of luck in your endeavors.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Idongesit
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