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How can I find my passion?

I am 17, and unsure of everything. I have no idea who I want to be, or what to do as a career. I need some advice, I know I need to go to college not only to better myself and my knowledge just so I can be a well-rounded individual as well as also to give myself more opportunities in different jobs and careers, however, I am completely lost as to what major I would want to pursue. Can anyone relate to my issue, and if so what is a way I can overcome this hurdle and find a job/career/major I would enjoy?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Praveen’s Answer

Feeling uncertain and hesitant about your future career at 17 is entirely normal. Many people experience similar doubts and concerns during their teenage years. Here are some steps to help you overcome this challenge and explore possible career choices:

Self-Reflection: Set aside time to think about your interests, passions, and strengths. Focus on the activities or subjects that genuinely captivate and involve you. Contemplating what brings you happiness and fulfillment can offer valuable clues to potential career paths.

Discover Your Interests: Investigate various fields, industries, and subjects that match your interests. Utilize online resources, books, workshops, or career exploration programs to gain exposure to an array of fields and professions. This can help you uncover new interests and gain a better understanding of different career possibilities.

Seek Guidance: Connect with mentors, teachers, or career advisors who can offer guidance and support. They can assist you in exploring diverse career paths, provide insights into specific industries, and share valuable advice based on their experiences and expertise.

Volunteer and Gain Experience: Participate in volunteer work, internships, part-time jobs, or extracurricular activities that align with your interests. These experiences can offer hands-on exposure to various fields, help you develop new skills, and give you a better understanding of what you enjoy and excel in.

Research Career Options: Thoroughly research different careers, including their educational requirements, job prospects, and work environments. Learn about the skills and qualifications needed for various fields and consider how they align with your interests and goals.

Network: Connect with professionals in fields that interest you through networking events, career fairs, or online platforms. Conversations with individuals working in different industries can offer valuable insights and help you understand the realities of various careers.

Take Personality and Aptitude Assessments: Think about taking personality tests or aptitude assessments that can provide insights into your strengths, preferences, and potential career matches. While these assessments shouldn't be the only factor in your career choice, they can offer valuable guidance and generate ideas to explore further.

Stay Open to Exploration: Remember that your career path is not set in stone. It's okay to change your mind, explore new interests, and pivot along the way. Being open to new opportunities and embracing lifelong learning can lead to a fulfilling and dynamic career journey.

In the end, finding the right career path requires time, self-exploration, and a willingness to try new things. It's a journey of discovery and growth. Be patient with yourself and trust that through exploration and self-reflection, you will find a career that aligns with your passions and goals.
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Tim’s Answer

I suggest you do campus visits but also consider community college online school. This decision is one of the toughest you’ll ever made needs thought over time, especially if no areas of interest. If colleges you can take general classes for first 2 years. Take your time don’t pressure yourself
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Blaine’s Answer

I will say In today’s world college ain’t always the next step in life after high school. There is so many things you can do, yes there’s college but there’s also military service, trade school, or just go into working. It’s up to you decide what you want to do with your life, I first suggest look at what you enjoy doing, wether it be cooking, learning about history, making things, etc. my best advice is look what you like to do and see if you can do that as a job or something that will make you happy doing. I know people who went to college and now enjoy doing something totally different then what they were studying in college. So just make sure it’s something you enjoy and want to do. But there is totally more then just college if you’re not sure it’s really what you want next
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Travis’s Answer

I explored various paths to discover what truly captivated me and inspired me to delve deeper. Initially, I dabbled in law school, followed by web development and web design. I soon realized that witnessing people admire my creative work brought me immense joy. Consequently, I channeled my creativity into assisting others with flyers, websites, and even promoting my own business.
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Antoinette’s Answer

I experimented with various activities to discover my passion, and I consistently asked myself these questions:
1. What is something that I genuinely enjoy and brings me happiness?
2. How can I transform it into a career?
3. What needs does it satisfy?

After answering these questions, I found a job that filled me with joy. I became the best at it and explored many diverse methods to excel in my chosen field.
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Valerie’s Answer

Trinity - you are not expected to know who you are or what you want to do at 17! So first, take a deep breath and know that just by asking this question you are indicating you are EXACTLY where you need to be at this stage. In fact - you are not even expected to know ‘what you want to do’ in college - that is what college is for - to take classes and have experiences of new things you didn’t even know exist!

But how to go about figuring out “what to do next”? Think of this as the most fun journey you will take! Exploring, asking questions, observing. There are so many roles which exist in the world that you don’t even know are out there - right now, you just need to stay open and curious in learning about them!

1. Be curious around you - ask adults what they do. Probe them with questions about why they go into that role, what the role does, what type of impact does the role have (in the company they work for or in the world). Be on a mission to ask this question to 20 adults (teachers, parents, friend’s parents). And don’t be afraid to ask - the #1 thing people like to do is talk about themselves! Oh and when you finish asking them about themselves - ask the adult “is there someone else you think I should talk to on this journey of exploration?” - they will open up doors and connect you to hear other’s stories and journeys!

2. Think about the things you are interested in. What gets you up in the morning? What are the activities you do where time flies by because you are enjoying yourself so much! Is it reading fiction? Is it math/science? Is it the theater program at school? Is it writing stories? Is it playing a sport? These can be small indicators of areas of interest - that might point in the direction of future roles of interest. And extensions of these areas of interest might even show up in some of those adult conversations you have!

Best of luck - have fun exploring and stay curious. And just remember - you are NOT supposed to have it all figured out right now.
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Megan’s Answer

I tell students there are three things they need to understand to make an informed decision about their future.

1. Yourself- what do you like? what makes you happy? what are your skills?
To learn more about yourself and the careers that might be a good fit- try to get as much hands-on experience as you can. Volunteer, part time jobs, job shadow, internships, etc.
I would suggest if you are unsure to go to community college your first two years and just take your general education courses. These courses often let you explore some of the majors/careers you are interested in. During those two years really get involved and explore some of the careers you are interested in. That way when you are entering your junior year of college you can make a more informed decision on what major and career you want to pursue.

2. Your options- how long do you want to be in school? how much do you want to pay for a degree?
I tell students who are unsure about what they want to do that IT, Healthcare, and Skilled Trades are great areas to start looking at because they have high-demand and high-wage careers.
There are some great associate degrees in these areas where you will not be in school long or have to take out a ton of student loan debt. Associate degrees are also great building blocks. For example, my friend got her associate's degree in nursing, and the hospital she worked at paid for her to get her bachelor's degree in nursing online.

3. Your goals- do you have any goals for your college experience? For me I knew I wanted to run track/cross-country in college, to study abroad, and to do the Disney College Program. I made my college choices off my goals. Also, think about your future goals- what kind of lifestyle do you want to live? Will the career(s) you are interested in help you reach those goals?

I hope this helps!
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Danielle’s Answer

You need to start with what interests you. Come up with some possible jobs that you might be able to do with those interests. I would also recommend you do some job shadowing in any career you are considering. You should always be able to find someone that would love to show you the ropes and give you actual career advice, tell you what some of the challenges are and what is needed schooling wise. We are getting many more job trades that do not require 4 year or master degrees. There are many trade schools that offer many options. So to wrap up, do your self discovery on things you love to do. Then find a mentor and then you will figure out your correct path for you. Everyone is different so don’t compare yourself to others. Good luck and I hope this helps.

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

Do a self inventory (figure out your qualities and your weeknesses) that you enjoy
Figure out the best way to use your qualities.
Look for jobs that you would enjoy or are passionate about
Find a mentor to do job shadowing with to see if that is the career you would like to invest your time in
Start the schooling for your career.
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kassidi’s Answer

It can be very hard to choose what you want to do in your life , I would say take it slow and enjoy the college experience , everything will eventually come to you.
It's also ok to not have everything figured out , the world changed due to the pandemic so everyone is slowly trying to get back to "Normal".
Im 20 and I just completed my first year of college and shockingly everything worked out the way it needed to.
Just give yourself time , enjoy your hobbies and friends.
If it makes you feel better Nobody know's what they are doing they just keep going untill something clicks for them.
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Jennifer’s Answer

I know it may seem stressful now to not know what direction you want to take, but it's very possible you will look back at this time and smile at how much possibility lay before you! I was pulled in a lot of different directions and it took me a long time to settle on a major.

My advice is to attend a community college; it's a cheaper option for you to work towards your General Education (GE) requirements and you may find something that interests you while you take those classes. Or if something else catches your attention, it's less of a financial investment to choose a class outside the GE path to see if you enjoy the subject.
And keep in mind that a teacher can make or break your opinion of a subject; a great teacher will be passionate about what they teach and is more likely to keep you engaged and interested, while a poor teacher can put you off a subject entirely - I say this so you can take a teacher's aptitude into consideration when evaluating how you feel about a subject.

If a subject seems interesting but you're unsure if it's the right path for you, talk to your teachers. They may be able to provide more information and / or help refine what specific major in that area may better fit your interest. For example, I've always had a fondness for numbers (and was a math major for a little while) and went on to major in Business Finance. While pursuing the major, I took a particular class that interested me greatly - it was like a blend of statistics and finance - and I asked the professor if there was a major that was more inline with her class. (She said not at this time, but they were working on it and could be in the next couple years, but I was already too close to graduation to stall out and wait for it.)

If funds allow, take your time! Enjoy the learning experience - both academic learning and finding yourself - and don't feel pressured to get your degree within 4 years. If you're entering college not knowing what direction you'll take, allow yourself time to explore and find what calls to you.
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Matthew’s Answer

This is a very important question, Trinity.

In my experience, Praveen's insights are the closest to the first step/answer to consider seriously which is to - know thyself. (See his self-reflection and his closing paragraphs.) The rest of the answers provided follow after working on this first competency - understanding yourself a little better each day. And if you know yourself well enough, you might discover your passions too.

Similar to Praveen's ideas like networking and researching options, I went through college going from one degree to another until I stumbled upon an area of focus completely by surprise that I ended up passionately following as my first vocation.

It can be a blessing and a curse to not know one's passion, yet I embraced the journey and took what I could from each experience. In the end, I have no regrets that it took so long or was so hard or whatever. I am just glad I found myself.
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Arman’s Answer

Explore options, people tend to think you are supposed to have it all figured out at such a young age but in reality you're just starting to learn who you really are. I would not worry too much as to finding a passion as soon as you can but to focus more so on discovering yourself and exploring different things that come to you. I was also in your position so I know what its like.
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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Trinity!

First things first - that's ok! Most people do not know what they want to do the rest of their lives and it can be stressful to think about. I felt the same way a couple of years ago right before I graduated high school. My suggestion is to go to a community college to obtain your basics. This will help you have time to try some different jobs in completely different fields. Also, by going to a community college you will be saving money and giving yourself more time to decide on a career/job while making progress on your degree. Don't let people put pressure on you that you have to decide now on the rest of your work life. I had a teacher in high school tell me that I would be a failure if I did not know what degree/career I wanted by the time I graduated high school. Well, I did not by graduation but decided a year later on what I wanted to do and absolutely love it (operations)

I really think business is a great field to go into since it keeps your options wide open. That way you are not committing to one specific field and find out later that you hate it. Some fields in business include:

1. Operations
2. Finance
3. Sales
4. Marketing
5. Human Resources

I decided to go into Business Operations since operations touches almost every facet of the organization. I enjoy the different challenges and operations also gives me the flexibility to try new things. Another great aspect about operations is they usually support the other divisions of an organization. Since, there are many divisions of an company if you do not enjoy one area its not a big deal since you can support other areas of the business.

Many larger companies will start you in a rotational analyst program. By doing this you will get to see usually 2-4 different sections of the business. Companies offer this to not only help you hone in on your career path but many companies have realized that if there employees actually enjoy their job they will get better overall performance.

Good luck on the journey!
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Doctorate Student’s Answer

Bravo for having the courage to chase your dreams! Dive into what sparks your excitement with all your heart, and everything else will naturally fall into place. Uncover your hidden talents by starting your educational adventure with General Education courses at a Community College. These courses are often available for free, providing a fantastic opportunity to delve into topics that truly fascinate you. Don't forget, college or career advisors are always there to lend a helping hand. Their expert advice could be the golden ticket to discovering your untapped potential. So, here's to a future that's bright and flourishing! May your exciting journey overflow with endless victories and joy!
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John’s Answer

This is a really good question. It is always important to remember that no matter what path you take or goal you set for yourself you always have challenges. Along your journey you will experience set backs, failures, and diversions that will challenge you. It is important to understand this before you start. Expect those things and don't let them deter you. Those situations are always opportunities to learn from. They will help mold you and give the knowledge, expertise, and most importantly confidence you need to be successful.
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Madhuri’s Answer

You’re right on track! I have gone through similar thoughts and feelings. I know many people from different generations who have had similar experiences. I have also seen folks who have been very passionate about a specific area or career and completely changed paths early on or much later in life. I used to think adults had all the answers. Later, I realized that is not how the world works!
Experiences and exposure through various mediums, environment and phases of life shape us into who we are, and age is just a number.

Feeling and understanding your emotions and current state allows you to determine the next steps to take. Do not try to avoid or expect to not have those emotions; rather, be open to them and give yourself time to get past the emotion and view things objectively.

Think of flowing water – it goes across obstacles in its path (for e.g., a pebble) or around it (for e.g., a large boulder), depending on the force of flow or the size and mass of the obstacle. Similarly, in life, one can choose to be supple and fluid like water and adapt to circumstances and achieve their goals.

Even if you find something you really like and start to pursue it, be open to change since you may find that your expectations and experiences allow for a different path.
Volunteering, internships are great ways to get exposure to see what you like or don’t like.
Opportunities come in all shapes and forms; try to find the potential in them, as they are ‘seeds’, not ‘trees’.

Enjoy every phase of your life! Good luck in your journey!!
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