How do I pick what career I want, or will it come naturally to me?
Hello, I am going into my freshman year at college as a Computer Science major. The only thing is, I haven't decided exactly what path to go on for a career. How do I pick what career I want, or will it come naturally to me?
Freshman in college, Computer Science major, potential physics, math, or accounting minor, thinking about cybersecurity or software development
Dr. Drew’s Answer
If you don't know which direction to choose, there are several books like "What Color is your parachute?" or take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test (such as this one here: https://mypersonality.net/). There are plenty of libraries in San Francisco. In fact, you can walk into almost any college library and read their college books for free!
Don't fall for the sunk-cost fallacy. Just because you spend your freshman year in one direction, does not mean you can't change direction in later years. Yes, it might postpone your graduation, but erasers are cheaper than jackhammers. Changing now might save you years of changing later.
There's a common misconception floating around that students are expected to have a sudden revelation one day during high school or college, pinpointing exactly what they want to pursue as a career. But let's be honest, this hardly ever happens! I'm halfway through my own career and I'm still figuring out where it's all leading.
Here's a nugget of wisdom for you, borrowed from the movie Frozen 2. Just focus on doing the next right thing, and follow the path that feels right in the moment. Be adventurous and explore new things by gaining as much hands-on experience as early as possible. Internships are a fantastic way to test the waters and see if you're on the right path. Keep your mind open to all possibilities and try to avoid repeating the same job.
1. Follow your curiosity: Pay attention to the activities, subjects, or hobbies that naturally captivate your interest. Explore them further and see if they can be translated into potential career paths.
2. Embrace exploration: Be open to trying new things and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Take on internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work in different fields to gain exposure and hands-on experience. This can help you discover what resonates with you.
3. Reflect on your values: Consider what matters most to you in life. Reflect on your core values, such as creativity, helping others, or making a 3. positive impact. Look for careers that align with these values, as they can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
4. Seek inspiration: Engage with people who inspire you or have careers that you find intriguing. Attend industry events, conferences, or networking opportunities to connect with professionals in fields that interest you. Their stories and insights can spark ideas and help you envision your own path.
5. Trust your instincts: Listen to your intuition and pay attention to how different career options make you feel. Notice if you feel energized, motivated, and fulfilled when thinking about certain paths. Trusting your instincts can guide you towards a career that feels authentic and fulfilling.
Remember, the journey of finding the right career is unique. There is no right path and often ends with career changes. This is okay too, my main advice is once you dive into a path, stick with it until you have a good understanding it is not for you.