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How did you know what career you wanted to pursue and did you take a few years in college before deciding Also, how did you decide which college was right for you? ?

I’m still in high school and I feel like there are lots of different things I would be interested in and I just don’t know how to narrow it down.

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Mustabsheera’s Answer

Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on your interests, values, skills, and passions. Consider what subjects or activities you enjoy, what motivates you, and what you envision yourself doing in the future. This self-reflection can help you identify potential career paths that align with your strengths and interests.

Research and Exploration: Conduct thorough research on different career options that match your interests. Look into job descriptions, required qualifications, potential career growth, and work environments. Explore various industries, talk to professionals in those fields, and consider job shadowing or internships to gain firsthand experience and insights.

College Exploration: Consider factors such as the college's reputation, location, available programs, academic resources, faculty, campus culture, and extracurricular activities. Research the curriculum and course offerings in your areas of interest. Attend college fairs, visit campuses, and speak with current students or alumni to get a sense of the college's environment and whether it aligns with your goals and preferences.

College Visits: If possible, visit the colleges you are considering. Attend information sessions, tour the campus, and talk to faculty and staff. This firsthand experience can provide a better understanding of the college's atmosphere, facilities, and support services.

Consider Financial Factors: Evaluate the financial aspects of attending college, including tuition, scholarships, financial aid, and living expenses. Assess your financial situation and determine what is feasible for you and your family. It may be helpful to explore scholarship opportunities or financial aid options.

Seek Advice: Seek guidance from school counselors, teachers, mentors, or professionals in fields of interest. They can provide valuable insights and advice based on their experiences and knowledge.

Decision-Making Process: Once you have gathered information, make a list of pros and cons for each college and career option. Consider your priorities, long-term goals, and how each choice aligns with your aspirations. Trust your instincts and make an informed decision that feels right for you.

Remember that career decisions and college choices can evolve over time. It's okay to explore different paths and make adjustments along the way. It's important to keep an open mind, be proactive in seeking information and opportunities, and stay flexible in adapting your plans based on new experiences and insights.
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Aziz’s Answer

Every person is different but for me I a worked a bunch of different jobs when I was 16-20 each one being different to see how I'd like each all the way from pizza marker to warehouse stocker for Amazon, school for a pilot, and even a banker but right away being in the financial institution has been my most favorite of all my job. So definitely get out there and see which one suits you best.
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Hannah’s Answer

I was just like you in high school: I had lots of interests and didn't know what I wanted to do. I knew which college I wanted to go to because it was the one my dad went to and I loved the campus. I would do campus tours to see how the college feels to do.
For the different interests, I took a lot of general education classes my first year to see if anything stood out to me while fulfilling the Gen Ed requirements. I also looked at the different majors I was interested in. I looked at the classes required for the major, at the number of credits needed, and how many years it would take to graduate.
For me, the classes the majors required were the most influential factor. If I wasn't excited or interested in taking most of the classes, I decided to cross it off my list. When I found a major where the majority of the classes looked fun or was incredibly interesting to me, that was when I knew it was one to take seriously.
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Misti’s Answer

At first, I wasn't sure about my goals, but as I explored my passions in college, things began to take shape. In reality, it took me a few years after graduation to truly discover what I loved. I embarked on one career path, and after five years, I changed course entirely. It's perfectly fine to learn and grow as you go, discovering your strengths and the type of work that brings you joy.
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Paul’s Answer

When I was in high school I thought about being an accountant since I did well in those classes. I did continue this pursuit in my early college years until an accounting professor said to me one day, "You know, an accountant sit in front of a computer all day don't you?" Being a people person, this is when I did some self-reflection and told myself accounting was not for me. I ended up switching my major to Business Administration to be more general. Today, I work in Learning and Development having done the majority of my work in delivery of curriculum. I have since switch gears within L&D to write policy and procedure content.

I have worked in theme park merchandising, wireless communications, writing tax returns, retail banking, and trash collection customer service training. You never know where your career path, and life, will lead you. I say try things and be open to the unknown and change. Don't forget to enjoy the ride along the way! Have fun in your pursuits.
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Michael’s Answer

My sophomore year and high school I attended a meeting for an organization called the Texas Aliiance for Minorities in Engineering. At that time, I did not know what an engineer was. However the announcement for the meeting stated if you were strong and math and science to come to the meeting. Since those were two of my strongest subjects I decided to attend the meeting. It opened my eyes to the field of engineering and from that point I decided to pursue this in college.

In regards to choosing a college, it is important to find the school that is a right fit for you. This can be based on the size of the school, location, and most importantly do they offer your major. Do your research and leverage resources like College Board, SchoolLinks of Naviance (if offered at your school) to learn more about the schools. Find out when the schools have a preview day where you can visit if possible.
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Alexis’s Answer

Hey Sophia!

Picking a career path can seem scary, especially when you have so many interests! But always remember, you're never stuck in one field. It's always possible to switch careers. I started in the legal world and then moved to the tech scene six years ago. Looking back, I'm thankful for my experiences in various fields. So, don't stress about finding the perfect career and major right away. The same idea goes for college too. You're never stuck with your college choice. I actually transferred after my first semester and ended up at a college that made me much happier! Each path you take will teach you important lessons for your future.

My advice for decision making is to truly think about what will make you the happiest. When choosing a job, don't just consider the salary or what others might think of your career. If you're only working for money or a fancy title, you'll get tired of it quickly. While in college, internships can be a great way to test out different careers. For college itself, look for schools with a variety of majors in case you want to switch later. Also, check out their clubs and activities to make sure you can see yourself being part of their community.

Remember, everyone's journey is unique! Enjoy the adventure! You can do it!
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Laura’s Answer

As I continue to discover my future path, I encourage you not to limit yourself. Develop a variety of skills that can be applied to any exciting challenge that comes your way. Remember, when you start feeling too at ease in a position, it's a sign to take on a new adventure. True growth comes from embracing the discomfort that accompanies learning.
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Kaylee’s Answer

Hi Sophia! I hope you're doing well!

For deciding which college was best for me, I started by writing a list of all the things my dream college would have. Like did I want to go to a large school or a small school? What kind of peers did I hope to surround myself with? What kind of extracurriculars or clubs were important to me? Were sports teams important to me? These kinds of questions helped me figure out what I was looking for and hoping for in a college and I was able to ask some of my teachers and counselor what kinds of colleges might satisfy these wishlist items for me.

Another thing that was important for me in my college search was the weather. It seems a little silly but I grew up in a mid-west state and I really am not a huge fan of winter weather, so I was really intent on looking at schools in warm-weather states. This was something that was important to me because I wanted to make sure I could be comfortable walking to my classes and I wanted to spend time outside getting some fresh air and clearing my head during any stressful times.

Another thing my list helped with was when I visited colleges, I could look at my list and see how many "boxes" the college checked off. Did the college only meet 1 of my wishlist items? Did it meet all of them but was located in a winter-weather state, and warm-weather was a top priority for me?

For me, writing down my wishlist was really helpful and I could add or cross off items as I thought of them. I could prioritize items on my list and decide which were the most important to me.

I hope this helps in your college search and I wish you the best in it!
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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Sophia!

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.

I would seriously consider going to a community college. Not only does this save you money but gives you more time to think about where you want to end up. Also, basics are basics and it does not make sense to pay for those type of classes at a university. My first year and a half I took basics at a community college and lived at home to save up money. I was also able to work a part time job and this gave me time to discover that I love business (specially operations) If I had not been given that time to think/keep looking I think I may have gone down the wrong career path.

I know this can be a stressful time in your life. Please know that you are not alone.
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