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What's the best way to decide what I need to do with my life?

I used to know exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a doctor, but then I wrote a play and now my entire life plan has changed. What is the best way to figure out what will actually be my best bet?

Thank you comment icon I will agree with many of the other posters. You are young, and can't be expected to know everything about what you want to do with your life. If you are undecided, take a liberal arts education an get exposed to as many things as possible, that will help you decide. And don't be afraid to change course if needed. (I started out as graphic design major, in art school, and ended up as a landscape architecture major.) Lastly an old saying: if you pick a job that you love, you will never work a day in your life. Richard Miller

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Subject: Career question for you

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Alan’s Answer

Emily, no one can know what your life plan should or will be except you, and you're not likely to know anything for sure, at least for a long time. There most likely isn't one "right" path anyway, and much of the answer lies in the process of exploring. What I can tell you is that making a living as a playwright would be difficult, unless you have some solid connections. And writing is something that can be done on the side. So from a practical standpoint, and certainly a conscientious one, becoming a doctor would seem a good aspiration, as long as the passion is still there. See what you can do with your plays in the meantime. Let teachers and writers give you feedback on their potential. And certainly take a class on play writing or the like. But I would also start taking the pre-medicine related classes like anatomy and chemistry, too. You'll have time to sort it out. You have obvious talent, ambition and enthusiasm. Just try to avoid locking yourself into the flavor of the moment and think long term.
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Steven
Thank you comment icon In addition to the advice from Alan, get yourself involved in theater in college or in community theater. I always had a passion for music, but I was better suited when I was younger to work in sports as a high school coach and then, later, in business consulting. I had a knack for helping people and explaining technical terms in plain English. I still dabbled in music on the side, and, now that I've retired, I find myself able to perform professionally once in a while, without affecting my ability to support my family. Always chase your dreams, but make the right decisions at the right times to be able to afford to chase them. Eventually, you'll catch your dream. Ed Wlodarczyk
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James Constantine’s Answer

Becoming a doctor is a great task, just like how I've been involved in computer software development for more than five decades. I also ventured into dietetics 35 years ago. You too can combine these two fields. Perhaps, you could attend orchestral performances and step up as a doctor to discuss health matters. Why not blend these two skills, just like many medical professionals have done? They've mastered musical instruments like the violin or piano. So, go ahead, give it a try!
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Kerry’s Answer

Do what you love to do…people that enjoy their work are the happiest people. Explore fields that involve things that make you feel good. You will find yourself a good career and your life will have purpose!
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Erika’s Answer

Emily,

I will say I agree with most of the feedback others have responded with thus far.
You are young and you do not have to figure it all out right now.

Any path you take will require hard work and dedication but at the end of the day it is worth the effort if it helps you attain your goals AND it is what you want to do!

I would advise doing some networking and seek out workshops or camps to immerse yourself in those experiences to get a "feel " for it and meet others to gain more insight and information.

Best

Erika
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Zifan’s Answer

I guess your interest and desire is ever changing - so probably a job is not for a life time. But there is a lot of hobbies, interests or good deeds you can commit to for your life time - for example, any sports, volunteering, community services, etc. I think giving back to the community and people around you is a career for a life time.
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Mike’s Answer

Emily, I'm not sure how old you are, but many of us while attending school weren't really sure what they wanted to be. As someone else mentioned earlier, sometimes it is by trial and error that you find your real passion. I was a musician at an early age and always felt I wanted to be a rock star. Although I continued to perform, and still do today, I realized early on that I couldn't earn the kind of living just doing music. I found I had the gift to sell and began my early career working in jobs servicing consumers. I fell in love with selling and it carried me through retirement. After managing other salespeople I eventually opened my own firm, selling design consultancy services. The important thing is that you should do whatever makes you happy, don't find yourself working A JOB. And your life may take you through many different occupations until you find the right one. Pursuing a medical degree is hard work and dedication....but if helping keep people healthy is a passion, then I would suggest you try it. Finding success as a writer typically occurs through networking with other writers, and as someone previously wrote, that can be difficult
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Charly’s Answer

Hi Good morning! Dig deep inside you and feel what really do you love to do or what do you used to love to do (be honest to your self) solve that puzzle, your own puzzle and go back to what you love to do and go for it with perseverance and never never quit.
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Allison’s Answer

It's not just what you'll be best at, but I've found over several career changes it's about what is going to fill you up and make you excited to work every day. One of my favorite quotes is "Work feels like school without any art gym or recess." - Jennifer Moss. To spend 40 hours a day doing something you don't like can burn you out so fast. But the great thing is you can always pivot your career, find new interests, and still keep up with hobbies that make you happy through it all. It's okay to be uncertain and still be figuring things out. Take time to explore all options that you're interested in and keep an open mind for it all.

Good luck!
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Roel’s Answer

Gather your loved ones or those you trust and have a heart-to-heart about your options. Start by pinpointing what truly ignites your passion and the aspirations you hold for yourself. Your goals will guide you on the path you need to tread. Brainstorm with your friends and family about the steps you need to take to achieve these goals. Together, you can formulate a solid plan for your future and identify meaningful objectives that you aim to reach. This collaborative effort will not only provide clarity but also make the journey towards your goals more enjoyable and rewarding.
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Taj’s Answer

Hello, start by eliminating what you do not like to do. And think about things you like to do. For example if you like to help people you can study education or become a nurse, a doctor of a social worker. Hope this will help you.
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TaNia’s Answer

You absolutely have the potential to achieve multiple things in your life. You might surprise yourself and become a doctor who also writes books, or perhaps a surgeon who directs films. Life offers a plethora of choices, and it's crucial not to restrict yourself to just one path if it doesn't align with your desires. I firmly believe that each individual possesses multiple talents, and it's perfectly acceptable to explore these talents and transform them into sources of income. I encourage you to pursue what you love, what brings you joy, and what you can envision yourself doing for a significant period. Remember, the sky's the limit, so don't put boundaries on your potential.
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Tam’s Answer

The quest to unravel what you should do with your life can at times be a daunting task. There two things you should look at:
1. Passion
2. Career

Passion is what you love to do. Things that most times come to you easily and you find delight in doing them. Passion could be skill in a particular area or knowledge of something you picked up from someone or learned that you now spend time applying during your spare time or downtime. It does not normally require formal education to obtain these skills. For example, songwriting, playing the piano, knitting, dancing, creative writing, skateboarding, soccer, etc. It’s a natural gift or drive. Many people do not seek to monetize their passion. But you can. If you’re dedicated enough to it, you can earn a living doing what you love.

Career on the other hand, in some cases, will require formal education. Career is a profession you want to dedicate your life to in order to earn a living. You don’t have to be passionate about it. You don’t have to like it. But you must know enough about it to be employable or start your own business. Many people hate their career, but they do it because it pays the bills and provides them with a comfortable life.

You can either follow your passion or decide on a career you want to pursue. But the interesting thing is that you can actually pursue both simultaneously! Your passion and a career. You can be a doctor and also a creative writer. One is a career, the other is your passion. There is no limit to what you can do and become, no limit to the lives you can affect positively if you decide to pursue either your passion or a career. It depends on how dedicated you are to either or both. The possibilities are endless.

Don’t be afraid to pursue your passion.

Do what you love. Love what you do.
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Nafisa’s Answer

Your career certainly shapes who you are, but you are not defined by your career. Like others have mentioned, you don't have to have it all figured out now and it's okay to switch career paths many times. You also can have side passion projects that are not part of your job.

I myself work as a data scientist for a software company and on the side I run a cake-decorating "business" via Instagram. For a while I was not sure if I should pursue cakes full-time. I loved the creativity and flexibility of making cakes but I realized if I pursued cake-decorating full-time it would not be fun for me anymore. I have now found a good balance where I still have a full-time job as a data scientist to pay my bills and get to make cakes on the side.

I know someone who worked as a lawyer for several years before returning to medical school and now works as a doctor. My point is you don't have to be put into a box of "this is my career, this is what I do." Explore different paths. You can always switch to another path!
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Jacob’s Answer

It's completely normal for your life goals and aspirations to evolve over time, and it's a sign of personal growth and self-discovery. When you find yourself at a crossroads and are unsure about what path to take, here are some steps to help you figure out what might be your best bet:

1. **Self-Reflection:** Take some time for introspection. Reflect on your interests, passions, strengths, and values. What activities make you feel truly fulfilled? What are you naturally good at? What causes or issues matter most to you? Self-awareness is key to making informed decisions about your future.

2. **Explore Your Passions:** Explore your newfound interest in playwriting. Consider taking creative writing courses, joining local theater groups, or participating in writing workshops. This will allow you to test the waters and see if this creative pursuit genuinely resonates with you.

3. **Talk to Others:** Seek advice and perspectives from people who have pursued various career paths. Talk to doctors, playwrights, and individuals in other fields. Hearing about their experiences and challenges can provide valuable insights.

4. **Set Goals:** Establish both short-term and long-term goals. What do you want to achieve in the next few years? Where do you see yourself in a decade? Having clear objectives can guide your decision-making process.

5. **Education and Skill Development:** Assess the educational and skill requirements for the careers you're considering. If playwriting becomes your focus, explore educational opportunities and workshops in this field. If you're still interested in medicine, research the steps required for medical school.

6. **Consider Your Lifestyle:** Think about the lifestyle you want. Different careers come with varying work hours, job stability, and income levels. Consider how your career choice will impact your personal life and well-being.

7. **Networking:** Connect with professionals in the fields you're interested in. Attend networking events, conferences, or seminars. These interactions can provide valuable insights and help you build a support network.

8. **Seek Guidance:** Don't hesitate to seek advice from career counselors, mentors, or academic advisors. They can provide guidance and resources to help you make informed decisions.

9. **Stay Open-Minded:** Remember that your path doesn't have to be linear. It's okay to explore different interests and switch directions as you learn and grow. Many people have diverse careers over their lifetime.

10. **Take Small Steps:** If you're uncertain about a career change, consider taking small steps toward your new goal while maintaining your current path. This gradual transition can reduce the risk and pressure of making a sudden change.

Ultimately, the best way to decide what to do with your life is a personal journey. It may take time and experimentation to discover what truly resonates with you. Be patient with yourself, stay curious, and embrace change as a natural part of your personal and professional growth. Your experiences, passions, and values will guide you toward a path that feels right for you.
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