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What should I pursue?

I've always had trouble figuring out who I wanted to be and am always changing what it is that I really want to do. One reason why its so difficult is because I've never found anything that incorporates all my skills and passions because they're just so diverse. To give a bit more insight I love the arts and have acted, drawn, and written books. Most of these things are for fun but I've been told I'm good at them even from actual judges and artists. I also love to talk to people and help others which is why I've wanted to be a therapists (I've also had an experience myself with depression and feel that my experience helps me connect to others). I've been told that I'm a comforting person but then I've also been told I'm a strong speaker from people I'm very close with and know me best. I love to learn about philosophy and history as well as justice which has lead many to believe I should be a social justice lawyer. I'm in high school now and it's so much more frustrating because I don't want to flip flop when I'm in college but I don't know what to do. I know all these things about myself and yet at the same time there's so much I don't. Does anybody have any resources or recommendations into things I should look into. I don't need exact answers but even directing me to a website/ book would really help! #art #philosophy #law #college-counseling #career-counseling

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Marjorie A.’s Answer

Hi Victoria,

Your query brings back memories of decades ago when I also had concerns about my career choice. As a third generation college student, my grandparents and parents were college grads; and, I didn't want to pursue their career, which was teaching/education. So I was basically searching for anything else. You also have to remember that resources were limited to encyclopedias or personally knowing someone in the field. Our career options did not include Internet search engines and the numerous career programs that exist today. My first career, dental hygiene, was discovered in a Junior Scholastic magazine. I was so desperate, as a high school freshman, I cut and put all the careers in a jar. I decided the first one I pulled would be my choice. How scientific is that??!! Anyway, since I was still interested in dental hygiene as a junior, my parents arranged for me to have a summer experience assisting in my dentist's office. I did it for two summers before entering college. I worked as a clinical and public health dental hygienist for approximately ten years before changing careers. After dental hygiene, I earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in mental health counseling. I didn't work in mental health counseling, specifically, but I was a high school counselor for thirty years.

There's nothing wrong with being uncertain about your career choice as a high school student. You're still in the exploration stage of career development. I shared my story with you, as I did with my school counselees, to help students recognize that even adults change their career path. Reasons can be voluntary, as was mine, or involuntary, as with lagging skills, lay-offs, technology, or loss of interest. Labeling it "flip-flopping" is being too hard on yourself. I would prefer to describe it as being very curious, insightful, ambitious, eager, and hopeful about your future and its possibilities.

You have many favorable characteristics can that channel and connect with various occupations. Some are independent and others overlap, which is positive for you. I would suggest that you check with your high school counselor or career center (if available) and inquire about taking an #interest inventory. There are two programs incorporated in the #naviance/Family Connection platform available at almost every high school in the U.S. One has a long questionnaire, but not unreasonable, and the other is shorter. They all relate to the career theorist, #john Holland, who said people select careers that relate to their personality and environment. His six #riasec codes describe the personality types.

Naviance career platforms also have videos, so you can view employees engaged in their job and get information about educational and employment requirements.

Another resource I recommend to students is the #occupational Outlook Handbook. Your school may have the books, but you can also access the website. It provides excellent information regarding high school and college preparation, salary, and stability.

Best wishes in your educational and career goals, Victoria. Take a deep breath/inhale and exhale; you'll be fine. When you get to college, you will declare a major by sophomore year, at the latest, and pursue the requirements necessary for the degree. If you need to change, voluntarily or involuntarily, you'll work it out AND you won't be the first college student to do so. Colleges and universities also have career centers on campus that offer career and personality inventories and related assistance.

Here are some links to assist with your interest:
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ (Occupational Outlook Handbook)

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Ellen’s Answer

Hi Victoria!

The first response to your question had some excellent advice and resources, so I definitely would follow up. I just have two suggestions.

If you love art and love interacting with people, then a career in art therapy or teaching art or drama might be worth looking into. I loved my career as an art teacher because I got share my enthusiasm for making art with kids. Art therapy is a growing field that helps children and adults work through personal issues and traumas through art.

Another strategy that was suggested to me a long time ago was to get feedback from family, friends, and teachers. Ask them what they see as your strengths and what career direction they could see you going in. You might even ask them to put the responses in writing, email or snail mail, so you can sort through the results and find some patterns. You'll get some crazy answers, but sometimes other people we know can see qualities in us that we aren't aware of, or that we might not really value at a given time. When I did this about 40 years ago, no one came out with "Be an Art Teacher!", but just about everyone I asked did comment on my commitment and talent in art, and that I was a "people person". It got me started on a path that eventually lead to a career in art education. Just an idea you might consider.

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Matthew’s Answer

Everyone has this problem. I sometimes still do not know what I want to be. I would not get too worried about it. From your description of yourself as an advocate, I would possibly look into family law. Also with your writing talents appellate work (where you do a good amount of writing) could also fit your strengthens.

This answer does not create an attorney client relationship and if you have any more questions, I would suggest consulting another lawyer.

Good luck!

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Jonathan’s Answer

A quick and easy way to find out how you will feel about a career is to find a way to job shadow someone who is doing work you are interested in. Save yourself a lot of time and dissapoinent and learns for other.