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How do I figure out what career path I want to pursue?

I love to be creative in my free time by indulging in hobbies like creative journalling, painting, reading and creating videos related to reading. I am in grade 12 and am deciding on taking a gap year after graduation to save money and better figure out my future goals. But I often find myself stuck on what I want to pursue, which often leads to doubting myself and my capabilities.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Gabriela’s Answer

It can be difficult to decide on a career path, especially when you have a lot of different interests. Here are a few suggestions that may help you figure out what you want to pursue:
- Reflect on your values and interests: Take some time to think about what is most important to you and what you enjoy doing in your free time. This can help you narrow down your options and identify potential careers that align with your values and interests.
- Research different career options: Do some research on different careers that might be a good fit for you. Look at job descriptions, salary information, and the required education and training. This can help you get a sense of what different careers involve and whether they might be a good match for you.
- Talk to people in different fields: Consider talking to people who work in fields that you are interested in. Ask them about their job duties, the training and education required for their job, and what they like and dislike about their work. This can be a great way to learn more about different careers and get a sense of what they are really like.
- Consider trying out different jobs or internships: If you are not sure what you want to do, consider taking on a part-time job or internship in a field that interests you. This can be a great way to gain some practical experience and get a feel for what it is like to work in a particular field.
- Seek guidance from a career counselor or mentor: If you are still having trouble deciding on a career path, consider seeking guidance from a career counselor or mentor. These individuals can provide you with valuable support and guidance as you explore different options and make decisions about your future.
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Elaina’s Answer

Hello Karen,

You do not need to know what you want to do on a specific timeline. Take the time to figure it out for yourself and at your own pace. One way to go about seeing what you would like to pursue would be to shadow others working in careers that hold your interest. This way you can see what your day to day would look like without going in blind. Good luck!
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Leah’s Answer

First off, I would like to say that feeling unsure of how to choose a career path is very common. In a sense, your uncertainty is a masked "blessing". You are taking the time to ponder your future. I think taking a gap year as you plan is a good idea. So, please don't let this situation discourage you. While you are taking your gap year, use that time to research careers that genuinely interest you. Reach out to people with careers that interest you. If you haven't already, create a LinkedIn account or a similar professional social media site. Resources as such could open plenty of doors. At the very least, you will have the ability to connect with professionals. You could gain tons of insight. Don't be afraid to tell people about yourself and what you're passionate about.

In my experience, no matter what undergraduate degree you may choose, you could end up working in an entirely different career but still do just what you love. For example, I have known English majors to become medical doctors. While your career choice is yours to choose, it is important to realize that you can take your talents and hobbies and apply them to a career that allows you to express what you enjoy doing. If you're passionate about writing, but you end up working in the healthcare field, you could have a more-than-satisfying career in medical writing. While educational programs may be already-specified, your career can be personalized or tailored to your personality. I feel it's important to point this out because career fields are not always "black and white". I remember where I sat and the academic advisors who sat by me when I realized that careers overlap with other fields. You have writers treating people for diabetes (writers with medical degrees, of course) as another mini example.

I encourage you to take the time to research careers that would be within your interest. Connect with professionals whose careers inspire you. If possible, seek out internships or volunteer opportunities. Career exposure can be immensely helpful for people who are not yet decided. It takes time, and you will have plenty of it. If you need further guidance, universities can offer career-assessment tests that could help direct you toward a career path that your personality is aligned with. Take time to reflect on yourself and what your long-term goals are. For comfort, know that there are many different career paths that could lead you to career that is worthwile for you.

Best of luck to you. We're always here to share and help guide.
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Michele’s Answer

From your various interests, it sounds like you are interested in the arts. If you are planning to go to university, you can look into schools that offer a BA (Bachelor of Arts) and see if any of their programs look interesting. You do not have to commit to a specific career path when you enter, and can refine your plan during your first year or two.

If you are planning to go to college to get trained for a specific career, then you might check if you can still meet with your high school guidance councilors. They might have ideas and suggestions.

During your gap year, see if you can get work doing something you might enjoy - or work at a company or business for the type of work you find interesting. That is a way to find out more about a potential career - whether you would like it, and what education is needed.
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Nour alhuda’s Answer

Hi Karen,
your question is very nice..
Recently, I read wisdom saying that you should have various hobbies
1 The first is to make you creative
2 The second is to bring you money
3 The third is to keep you in shape
4 The fourth is to make you educated 5 The fifth is to evolve your mind set
So let's classify what you love according to this wisdom:
1 the first one is painting
2 the second one is a work you love but still don't know what is it ( i just suggest you to open a YouTube channel to make money by reading book and explain it to people so you can give knowledgetoothers(you can watch ali abdaal he is a reader, YouTuber and a doctor )
4 the fourth one is your school or uni
5 the fifth one is your reading and journaling
Tell me if this was helpful.
Best wishes
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Karen,

I would say that you try to expose yourself to a wide variety of people and careers. The place that I would start is volunteering with various organizations and find a way to use what you do as a hobby for that charity, For example, one of my favorite hobbies in photography. I started offering to use that hobby with volunteer organizations since photography can be an expensive option for non-profits to pay for. Plus since I was doing it for free, they didn't require a high quality that they would normally need to pay for. It has helped me improve my photography and also taught me a lot about how to interact with people about photography that I would be able to use in a paying job later on. Since it was for real people, it made me work harder as I was taking and editing photos. I wanted them to have my best work.

I would also say that you recommend finding groups that you might be able to join around your hobbies. In Dallas, a city near me, there is a photography club. For a small fee, I could interact with other photographers, learn skills and make connections. This networking can be a conduit to finding a job that you may never be aware of otherwise.

Gloria
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Chirayu’s Answer

I don't think you are the only person with this issue, many others have faced it. To start, never doubt yourself, lead with your strengths, create a list of things you are good at or what interests you have versus. You can ask your teachers or friends what your strengths are and they may be able to give you a better view of what you are good at. Develop a passion for something or work towards it and you may just end of making a career out of it. Talk with people with similar roles and network with people to get an idea of their day to day so you can see what to expect. You may end up working on different things and gain experience which in the end will help you work towards your career. Work towards the degree in your chosen field, intern at places where you see something similar to what you want to do.
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Yhtiyar’s Answer

It's great that you're taking the time to explore your interests and goals before jumping into a career. Here are some strategies that can help you figure out what career path to pursue:

Identify your skills and strengths: Make a list of the skills and strengths you have, and think about how you could apply them in a career. For example, if you enjoy creative journalling and painting, you might have skills in design or visual communication.

Explore your interests: Think about the activities and hobbies you enjoy doing in your free time, like reading and creating videos. Research careers that align with your interests and see if they spark your curiosity.

Seek out experiences: Look for opportunities to gain hands-on experience in areas that interest you. This could include internships, volunteering, or job shadowing. These experiences can help you learn more about different career paths and gain valuable skills.

Talk to people in different fields: Reach out to people who work in careers that interest you and ask them about their experiences. This can help you get a better sense of what a particular job is really like and whether it might be a good fit for you.

Use career assessment tools: There are many career assessment tools available online that can help you identify your strengths, interests, and values, and suggest career paths that might be a good match.

As a career coach, I can work with you to explore your interests and goals, identify your strengths and skills, and develop a plan for pursuing a career that aligns with your passions. If you're interested in learning more about my career coaching services, please contact me. www.getmydreamjob.us
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Brandy’s Answer

Everyone has already provided a wealth of advice on your question. Based on the items that you mention you enjoy, I would consider a type of language composition path. I would explore how you feel about teaching and working with groups in a teaching environment. You may not want to stop there. You could become a content creator on a similar subject. Take what you love and explore areas related to those. You also must decide what about the career is important to you most. For some its high income but for others it may simply just be the reward of being successful at the job you choose.
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Carlos’s Answer

I used to get stuck on this question because I would try to picture the exact job or job title I wanted. I recommend just writing down what tasks/responsibilities you want to be part of the career you end up in. That will keep your mind open to opportunities that may not perfectly fit your idea of a job title but check the box on all the things you want to do in that job. I ended up being a project manager in a workforce department which is definitely not what I was planning on. I originally felt the need to be in a technical position since I liked to look at difficult problems and make attempts to fix them or make them better. I left myself open to doing anything involving that task of resolving complex problems instead of purely staying in a tech department. Focusing on the task/responsibility allowed me to end up working on complex problems in a part of the business that was new to me.
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Erlis’s Answer

Figure out what your passion is. In otherwords, if you could do something for free without pay, what would it be? Also, do you want a job or a career? Career selection for a job wouldn't require extensive schooling beyond your degree. A career would require maybe an extra degree beyond a bachelor's degree. So once you figure out your passion, figure out what you are good at. Are you good at quantitative stuff (math, sciences, etc)? Are you good at wrting? Are you good at debating or writing papers? Do you like to read history, english, political science etc? Those academic things that you are good at or that you enjoy, can also lead you to your major and your career. Once you know if you want a career or job and once you know what you're good at in the classroom, you will be able to narrow your career and major. Pick 2-3 things, do your research, but don't go all in until you are absolutely sure.
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Matthew’s Answer

First - Center yourself such that you are making decisions from a position of internal strength and confidence in your talents and abilities.
Second - Pick your top three interests and take time to google information about them. You don't need to become an "expert" of sorts. However, you should know the basics about the fields you are desiring to learn more about. This makes you more credible with professionals who might spend time with you sharing their experiences.
Third - If possible, find trusted/reputable people to shadow them for a day. This can be done best through professional organizations. You may even find a mentor or other opportunities by just asking.
Fourth - Act, take action towards engaging in your chosen field(s).
Fifth - Understand that life has twists and turns. What you decide as good for yourself today may not be good for you next year. That is not to say that you should flinch when challenges present themselves. That does mean that you can fail, brush yourself off, change course and become wildly successful! I've seen it happen, and it's beautiful!!
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Lisa’s Answer

My son is also in 12th grade currently. He is also trying to figure out what he likes. It is not easy to figure out your career path, there are so many options. I've read that people change their careers on average 3 times thoughout their entire career. You mentioned you like making videos and reading, maybe try some classes in media and communications , marketing or even majoring in English. Finding an internship may be easier if you are in college, they have career centers and people and resources to help look for an internship. Internships are a great way to experience a profession and see if it is something you will like to do. Be open to trying different jobs. It may be good to also chat with your guidance counselor. That is their job and they may be able give you some ideas or direction. I believe in highschool there was also a test you can take that tells you what you may be good at. Good luck, be open to trying different jobs and be true to yourself.
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Karen’s Answer

Hello Karen, you have received a lot of good advice. I know when I was in your position, I found the OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK HANDBOOK that you can access thru the internet. There you will find most occupations along with important information around job duties, salary ranges, education requirements, career paths and much more. Take your time and read through it and find what interest you. Being you are still in high school you should have a counselor that can provide information as well. If you are considering college /trade school than please make sure to ask your counselor for all information on scholarships, grants, and financial aid to help pay for the cost. Those things you qualify for may help you to the next steps. The last piece of advice is shoot for your dreams!
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