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What are some scholarships that you may have gotten? How did you get them? Did it take you long to do the work required? How did you decide what you wanted to be when you grew up? Do you still like doing that job? When should I start applying for scholarships? What job did you always want to do but didn’t end up doing because you either couldn’t or thought it would be frowned upon? Was there ever a job you wanted but didn’t end up doing because it didn’t pay enough?

I’ve always wanted to be an interior designer or work in the film industry. There’s not much demand for Interior designers where I live and i don’t want to move far away from home! There is a lot of demand for the film industry though. What should I do? I want to be in a career that I love and enjoy doing but makes enough money! When will I know what career I want and will love, and how do i know that it will be acceptable?

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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Jacob’s Answer

It sounds like you have a lot of questions and aspirations, which is wonderful! Let me address them one by one:

1. Scholarships: I can offer advice on how to find and apply for them. Scholarships can come from various sources, including universities, private organizations, and government programs. Start your search early, and look for scholarships that match your interests, skills, and academic achievements. Many scholarships require essays or interviews, so be prepared to put in the effort to demonstrate why you deserve the scholarship.
2. Choosing a Career: Deciding on a career can be a journey. It’s common for people to explore various interests and passions before settling on a path. You mentioned an interest in interior design and the film industry. Consider exploring both through internships, volunteering, or part-time jobs to get a feel for what you enjoy most.
3. Passion vs. Practicality: Balancing your passion and practicality is a common dilemma. While it’s essential to pursue what you love, it’s also important to consider the demand and job opportunities in your area. You might find ways to incorporate your passion for the film industry into a career that aligns with local opportunities, such as film production or related fields.
4. Career Acceptability: Ultimately, the acceptability of a career choice varies from person to person and culture to culture. It’s essential to choose a career that resonates with your interests and values rather than solely for societal approval. Seek guidance from mentors and professionals in your chosen field to better understand the career landscape.
5. Income Considerations: It’s natural to want a career that provides financial stability. Research the earning potential in your desired fields and set realistic financial goals. You might also explore options for career growth and additional income streams within your chosen profession.
6. When Will You Know?: Discovering your ideal career may take time, and it’s perfectly okay to explore different paths. Pay attention to what excites you, what you excel at, and where you find fulfillment. Over time, you’ll gain clarity on your career direction.
7. Staying Open-Minded: Keep an open mind and be flexible in your career choices. Sometimes, a combination of interests can lead to unique and fulfilling career opportunities that you might not have initially considered.
8. Geographic Considerations: If you prefer not to move far from home, explore local opportunities related to your interests. You might find niche markets or remote work options that allow you to pursue your passion without relocating.

Remember, it’s your life and your career, so prioritize your happiness and fulfillment. Seek advice from career counselors, professionals in your desired fields, and mentors who can provide valuable insights based on their experiences. Your journey to finding the right career may have twists and turns, but with dedication and self-discovery, you can achieve a fulfilling and financially rewarding path that aligns with your passions.
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D'Onica (D)’s Answer

These are great questions! You should be proud of yourself for asking these questions to gain insight. Looking for scholarships when you are in high school is helpful because it exposes you to the possibilities. Scholarships range from athletics to theatre, and the amounts vary significantly. Criteria for scholarships also varies, so it may be helpful to start your research early to make sure you can meet the qualifications. While I was in high school, I applied for local scholarships available through non-profit organizations such as Rotary and scholarships available at the university that I would be attending. I also looked for national scholarships online. Fraternities and sororities may also be resource for possible scholarships. Yes, it will take effort and diligence to locate and complete scholarship applications. Sometimes, scholarships are for a certain amount at a certain time. It is important to know if a scholarship will not be provided for the same amount every year while you are enrolled at the university/institution. Sometimes, scholarship will be provided for the duration of your enrollment at the university/institution, but the amount of the scholarship does not increase. That may leave a gap if tuition, fees, etc. increase at the university/institution. Possible solutions to fill that gap may be investigating whether the university/institution has scholarships available for current students. I served as a Community Advisor in the Residence Halls while I was at the university to assist with payment for my room and board.

If you are able to attain a job that you truly enjoy, but the salary is not sufficient perhaps there will be other opportunities to supplement your income. Working a part-time job and having a roommate are a couple of ways I've supplemented my income. It was also helpful to talk with someone or shadow someone who was working in a field I was interested in. There may or may not be income available to you as an intern, but it is a good use of time to learn about the position and all it entails, which may even lead to you no longer wanting to pursue a position in that field. Believe in yourself, consider your strengths and areas of interest, and investigate resources (scholarships, internships, mentorships) to assist you in pursuing your career.
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Sarah’s Answer

I had to put myself through college, I came from a family that could not afford to help me. I would band-aid tons of scholarships. I found them through the FAFSA process, as well as https://www.tuitionfundingsources.com/ and https://www.fastweb.com/. I also had a few years paid for through a local Baptist church. My advice would be to never stop looking. Grants and scholarships can be good tax write offs and there are plenty that go unclaimed. At the end of my schooling I applied for so many, I would receive a check. I also worked 2-3 jobs during college, it took me 5 years to achieve a Bachelors because of my workload. What I realized was that when I graduated, with my job experience and internship (which was unpaid), I had more experience then most I were competing against. My friends that had college paid for did not have the same depth of resume although I did not expect that outcome when I was so exhausted and working so hard :) But hard work pays off. I come from a family that couldn't afford to consider hobbies as careers, I valued financial security and food stability more than what I wanted to do inside. That could come later in my opinion. Because of this, I went into Healthcare Information Technology and then learned Radiology pays more so I went into that. I needed to learn a ton but the base salary and commissions were much higher. I learned and taught myself, asked questions, worked harder and soon became an expert in Radiology Information Systems.... something no one I knew had ever heard of. I started buying EFT's on the S&P500 in my 20's, slow and steady. Decades later, investing slowly paid off. I only bought low risk ETF's that paid dividends and put them on a DRIP, something no one from my beach town ever explained. My career hard work paid off, friends of mine had a lot more fun but I was working and traveling almost 25-28 days a month. I did that for over 10 years, got promoted, saved into my 401K and secured my retirement. I had nothing to start with, and now I can do my passions. I learned so much, have meet so many wonderful people but learned that no one will come and turn your TV off, no one will research and care for you like you will. Put in the work for your scholarships, investing, career, and you can become and do amazing things. Start applying for scholarships early so you don't miss the deadlines. They take effort to fill out. Get your essay ready, something compelling. If they give you 5K over another person.... why should they do that? What in you makes you more determined and more likely to succeed? Be sure to truly believe in yourself. I always knew 1 thing... if I have to count on myself for something, it'll happen. I can move a mountain even if it takes years, I just need to go step by step. My bachelor's is in Psychology, sales paid more, then I realized I am VERY good at marketing globally. But those steps took years and various levels of exposure. So expose yourself, when ever you can.

Sarah recommends the following next steps:

Research your county and if they have community resources that compile funding/scholarships.
Make a vision board so you can see what you'll achieve with your hard work after schooling.
Ask trusted adults to shadow them for half a day at work.
Get a well written essay, edited, and worked on so that it's solid for submission for scholarships.
Believe in yourself.
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Megan’s Answer

There are a ton of scholarships- you just have to put the work and effort in to find them and apply. Some colleges offer more scholarships than others. When you are looking into colleges try to find one that will give you the most. You could also do two years of community college to save money. Take your general education courses at a community college and use those two years to save money and explore the careers you are interested in. The general education courses are helpful for figuring out what you like as well. join clubs and organizations related to the two careers you are interested in. After that, you can transfer to a university for a bachelor's degree and you can still get scholarships when you transfer. Start looking for an applying to scholarships as early as your junior year. Some require you to wait to be a senior but you can make a list of scholarships to apply to.

As far as finding a job you love AND making enough money- that is everyone's dream, right? It is not always that simple. The best thing you can do is research and explore these careers. Determine what is more important to you. When it comes to money the best way to make a salary feel like it is enough is to avoid debt. Try to avoid student loan debt, be smart with your money and understand the lifestyle you want and if the salary your career offers can afford that.

Try to really explore the careers you are interested in. Get an internship or part- time job related to what you are interested in. Try to job shadow or find a mentor. Ask your guidance counselor to help you with exploring. Look for a summer camp or college summer camp related to the careers you are interested in.

I hope this helps!
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