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I'm having a hard time deciding what I want to be when I grow up. Is there a way to help organize my thoughts and I am feeling lost in my career path, What can I do?

Hi! I'm in 9th grade and people keep asking me what I want to be or about my career and I don't know how to answer. I have many things to choose for my career path but don't know what to choose. I know many people have the same issue as me. Sometimes I say I wanna be this and that but by the end of the day I don't know what to choose.

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Yekaterina’s Answer

Hi Shosi. To be honest, I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up and I am techically a grown-up! Instead, just try to focus on what subjects in school you like and why, what hobbies/passions outside of school do you enjoy, etc. If you start to think about those, maybe start searching career options in those areas and read up on them. I think continuing to try new things and taking new classes will help you narrow things down at least a little. Also, ask some adults around you why they chose the career path they did (try your dentist, your teacher, a friend's parent, etc.). At the end of the day, it's okay to change your mind - people change jobs/careers all the time, you don't need to know now. I've had 4 different roles at my current company. Hope that helps!
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Shelby’s Answer

Hey Shosi! I love that you’re already wondering what you might want to do when you are older for a profession. The good news is, life is more like steering a ship than making a map. A lot of times we can think we know exactly where we want to get to and how to get there, but as we grow and learn about ourselves we realize the path before us is changing. It’s excellent to goal oriented and consider the future, but make sure not to put so much pressure on yourself that you corner yourself in a path that is no longer what you want. You’re at a great age for exploration! I would start by taking stock of the things that spark some energy, passion, or curiosity for you. Maybe that’s a subject in school or a hobby. Follow that curiosity and energy and see how you can engage with it more. So if you love animals and enjoy science at school, check out a vets office and see if you could job shadow, get an internship, or even volunteer. That will expose you more to what those passions could look like in a job. Notice how you feel while you’re in that experience. Does it make you excited? Energetic? Does it make you feel purposeful? No one feels that way in their job all the time. But finding the environments where you get a taste of motivation are always worthwhile to explore. Maybe you love creating things and enjoy math. You might make a great engineer. See if there are ways you could try that out more- like a STEM class or club at school.

My advice is this- in the stage you’re in now, trust and explore your curiosity with intention. When you find something that feels like a good fit, research jobs that might relate to it. You’re already asking great questions. One of the best places to start is trusting your curiosity and finding ways to explore it. Pay attention and see what it has to teach you about what you love and what you feel is worth your effort, time, and investment.
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Jacob’s Answer

It's completely normal to feel uncertain about your career path, especially in 9th grade. Many people go through the same process of self-discovery and exploration before settling on a career choice. Here are some thought-out advice and steps to help you organize your thoughts and find clarity in your career path:

1. Self-Reflection: Take some time to reflect on your interests, passions, and strengths. Think about the activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, as they can provide valuable clues about potential career paths.

2. Explore Different Fields: Research various career options to gain a better understanding of what each entails. Look into the responsibilities, educational requirements, and potential growth opportunities in different fields.

3. Talk to Professionals: Reach out to professionals in fields that interest you. Conduct informational interviews or shadowing experiences to get firsthand insights into what their job entails and whether it aligns with your interests.

4. Assess Your Skills: Identify your natural skills and talents. Consider how you can leverage these abilities in a career that complements your strengths.

5. Set Short-Term Goals: Rather than worrying about a long-term career decision, set short-term goals for yourself. Focus on exploring different subjects and extracurricular activities in school to see what you enjoy most.

6. Seek Guidance from Counselors or Mentors: Talk to school counselors, teachers, or mentors who can provide guidance and support in exploring different career options. They can help you identify resources and opportunities for career exploration.

7. Engage in Internships or Volunteering: Participate in internships or volunteer work in areas that interest you. This hands-on experience can give you a real taste of different career paths and help you make informed decisions.

8. Keep an Open Mind: Be open to trying new things and embracing opportunities that come your way. Sometimes, the best career paths are discovered through unexpected experiences.

9. Embrace the Journey: Remember that your career path is a journey, and it's okay to take time to figure things out. Be patient with yourself and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on making a decision right away.

10. Focus on Transferable Skills: As you explore different interests, focus on developing transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. These skills will be valuable regardless of the career path you choose.

Remember, it's okay not to have all the answers right now. The journey to finding the right career path is a process of exploration and self-discovery. Stay curious, be proactive in seeking opportunities, and trust that with time and effort, you will gain clarity on the path that aligns with your passions and aspirations.
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Sue’s Answer

Hello!

What a humorous inquiry! I believe that it's rare for someone to truly understand what they aspire to become in their adulthood. Often, individuals are deep into their professional lives when they start seeking chances to venture into something completely different, to change their career trajectories! It's rather unusual for someone to determine their future profession at a tender age and actually follow through with it! My suggestion to you would be- don't stress about figuring all this out at the moment. Maintain a broad perspective, delve into various fields and seize diverse opportunities- you can't predict where your path may lead you. Best of luck on your journey!
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Kevin’s Answer

Shoshi,

I'm sure others have already given great advice (I don't have the time to read through all of them at the moment), but in case no one else has said it: breathe. Relax. As admirable as it is to be a ninth grader trying to forge a career path, it's not necessary and you won't fail at anything if you're not settled on a plan yet.

When I was in high school I wanted to be an architect. After one year of college I wanted to be a photojournalist. Within a year I left college to tour with my band. After that I taught English in Vietnam, earned a degree in philosophy, worked as a barista, a bike shop manager, a construction rigger, a cash office clerk, a yearbook photographer, a wedding photographer, and a stay-at-home dad.

A lot has happened between that last item on the list and today, but now I'm an accountant with a graduate degree and an awesome career building finance automations for one of the largest and most exciting companies in the Midwest. I never would have chosen accounting as a career path when I was in ninth grade, and I'm so glad I didn't. My resume may be four pages long, but all of that seemingly random experience has cultivated a powerful skillset for me.

So breathe. Sure, think about the future, be curious and critical and patient. Consider your options but do not feel obligated to choose your path just yet. I'm not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up, either, but I'm happy where I am today, and I hope you are, too.
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Jonathan’s Answer

Hello! My suggestion is to take your time, and take a deep breath. You should really think through what you'd actually enjoy doing. Try to imagine you working in one of the fields you want to have a career in, would you find it enjoyable? If not then I'd suggest to shy away from that path. I personally did not know what to do back when I was in 9th grade, I decided to take a path in learning Mechanical Engineering since it seems relevant to my interests at the time. Personally after studying Mechanical Engineering I would have taken another course if I had the chance, reason being Engineering was never really my passion. Passion for me is actually a process of self discovery and everyone's passion changes as the years go by, I used to like engineering related topics back in high school but that has since change today. As of today my interests are in Cybersecurity and Investment banking, which is a very unrelated topic to Engineering. Since you are still very young, I'd say pick a major that seems to be most interest to you and if things do not work out when you start studying, you could always change majors. This may be expensive though, so think carefully. I personally will be taking my MBA degree soon, once again a very different career path, but that shows that it is never too late to change your career path as long as you have the motivation. Just take your time thinking through your hobbies and interests, reference them for your future career path, but remember that it is normal for your passion to change as the years go by. I wish you the best of luck and have a nice day! :D
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Nicole’s Answer

Hello there! Just like others, I'm genuinely impressed that you're already pondering over this. It's completely normal to feel a bit swamped when people ask about your future, especially when the world is your oyster! You're at a wonderful stage in life to contemplate what brings you joy and what you're truly passionate about. Remember, a wide array of skills can be adapted to various industries and roles, so dream big and consider your hobbies and interests. It could also be beneficial to peruse through job descriptions of roles that catch your eye, or even ones you've never considered before. Why not start with companies you'd love to be a part of? Hope this advice is useful!
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Keyston’s Answer

Hey there, I get where you're coming from. When I was your age, I was really into boxing and thought that would be my path, but an injury changed my plans. It's okay not to have all the answers right now. Take some time to explore your interests and strengths. Even though I didn't go to college, I found my way as a facility maintenance supervisor, supporting my wife's business. Life can take unexpected turns, just stay open and keep trying things out – you'll find your way, too.
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Harvey’s Answer

Almost everyone will tell you to follow what you are interested in, which is natural. But people almost never mention that you should also ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you want to live.

Remember that while your job is a large part of your life, beyond your 9-5 is a majority of your time, so what do you want to do with it? What kind of house do you want to live in? What do you need if you want to travel often or if your hobbies are expensive? Would you value working from home or being in the office, or being outside?

You may have a burning desire to do a particular job, but perhaps if you are not as set on a particular line of work, think about what type of job will facilitate the lifestyle that you want, and you will be surprised at what you find!
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