When should I start deciding my career path?
I am unsure of what to pursue in college because there is so many options! I like a lot of different things and not sure what I would be best at. I am not sure when to start really focusing on something that I really would want to do.
As some of the other professionals called out, take some time to learn about yourself. What you want in life will help guide you towards something that will fill that 8hrs and build a life you want. Good luck!
Below are my suggestions:
1. Think about what you have interest, e.g. your hobbies, favorite subjects, etc. and identify the related careers
E.g. If you like music, would you like to be a singer, musician, music composer, musical artist, music producer, etc.
If you have interest in maths, would you like to be an accountant, engineer, financial analyst, banker, maths teacher, etc.
2. Find out more on these careers and determine what you have interest
3. Speak to someone who are working in these careers. Seek guidance from your mentor, school career counsellor, your parents, etc.
4. Shortlist 1-2 careers you would like to pursue
5. Explore the entry criteria of relevant subjects in the college
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
James Constantine Frangos
James Constantine’s Answer
There's a lot to consider. Do you enjoy being around people? Are you good with numbers? Do you thrive on change? Do you enjoy conducting research?
You should also think about what you want to gain from a career. What are the financial prospects? What are the realistic rewards? How much are the course fees and how long will you need to study? Is financial gain a priority for you? Are you choosing a career that will meet your expectations in the short, medium, and long term? Do you prefer stability? What about work-life balance (not all careers offer the same)? Or perhaps you're more interested in choosing a career that's meaningful and contributes positively to the world and your community. It's also important to consider the career path itself - you might not become a CEO or a big movie star right away, so would you enjoy the journey to get there?
All these factors will influence your career choice. Besides internships, I highly recommend talking to friends, family, and parents of friends. Ask them not only about their job, but also about their career path and request their honest opinions.
If you're not set on a professional career like law, medicine, or engineering, or if you're unsure or don't have a specific passion, consider acquiring a future-proof, high-value skill set, perhaps in the tech field.
1. Opt for a larger college that offers a wide range of majors. This is crucial as many students often change their majors during their college journey.
2. Keep an eye on the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI). It's important to note that AI is set to revolutionize the job market in the future.
Wishing you the best of luck!
This is a fun book with intriguing questions to help you along your career journey/adventure.
I'd also like to share this poem which has meant a lot of me in my quest for finding meaning to my life:
The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Think at which book you read, because you like and not because someone told you to do it.
Think at which type of people you admire and you would like to work with in the future. Try to learn from them what they did to get where they are today.
Think at what kind of person you want to be. A career is just a journey to help you to become the person you want to be. Share with the people around you what you want to be, they will help you with advises and support.
People success is the outcome of a village effort.
First thing to think about is that while it would be nice if your degree matched your career, that’s not always the case. You might get a degree in anthropology and end up working as a user-researcher in a product company. That's ok and happens more than you might realize.
I personally didn’t have a career in mind when I started my first post-college job. I just knew I wanted to work and utilize my degree which involved programming and I knew was fun for me. Along the way, I said yes to a few interesting opportunities despite it being a departure from what could have been a traditional career, and I’ve been happy with the result of organically ‘discovering’ my career instead of planning it.
You might consider the following before getting started
Do you want to focus on the activities of your career? Or the industry? Or do you care more about a larger cause?
For example, some people care about wanting to program. That’s an activity, not an industry or a cause. You can be a programmer at a retail company, an enterprise software company, or in the energy sector.
Some one else might care about working at NASA or SpaceX because they really like the aero-space industry and whether they are doing quality assurance, or hardware design, or materials engineering, they might enjoy the job regardless because its aerospace.
And finally, another person might really like the cause of environmentalism over and above anything else, so they might enjoy working at a organization focused on environmentalism regardless of whether its as an grant writer, or an program manager, and regardless of whether its a non-profit or whether its a commercial renewable energy company.
The point is, try to get a sense of what’s MOST important to you as it won’t be just one thing. The activity, the industry, the cause or something else. And use that narrow down the options open to you in college.
Finally, remember that whatever you pick might not be the immediate right answer - you might need to make a switch once or twice (likely again after you have degree as well as new opportunities will come up!). Some resistance and doubt is normal in any career, but if you’re spending many months just not feeling engaged in the topic, it might be time to consider a change.
Good luck to you, its a super exciting time to discover and chose a career for yourself!
It's great that you're thinking about this early and have a few paths in mind. I recommend trying to experience as many of the things you're even remotely interested in. This will provide you a better understanding of how they are in the real world, vs what you hear or may read about. Take opportunities to do internships, site visits, volunteer, or anything that would allow you to witness employees in the field. Youtube has a lot of videos on almost any field or job, that can shed light as well. Keep in mind this is not a guaranteed formula to give you that """"epiphany"""" that you seek, but would greatly increase the probability.
On the other hand, spend time thinking about what it important to you. What about a job or career do you value most? Money, impact (making a difference), low demanding, being famous, etc. Once you know what's most important to you, that will help you further narrow down the best career for you.
From my own experience, I studied electrical engineering but found that I did not like it. I then changed to a general major, not sure where to go. By the end semester, I decided to speak to an advisor, who simply asked what I (as a person) liked, regardless of whether or not was an available program. From that, she introduced me to Engineering technology, which I began as it piqued my interest. However, through the program, I learned about process improvement methodologies (such as Lean Manufacturing & Six Sigma)....and at this point, I did experience that "AHA" moment you seek! It is a great feeling indeed, and to date, I shifted from engineering to focus on process improvement full-time, and loving it!
Hope this helps, best of luck!
Once you enter college, take advantage of the flexibility to explore different majors and consider internships or part-time jobs in fields that interest you. It is helpful to use campus career services and networking opportunities to further narrow down your career choices. Remember it is okay not to have everything figured out immediately; career paths can evolve and change over time. Stay open-minded, curious, and willing to adapt as you gain more knowledge and experience about yourself and the world around you. Good luck on this journey of self-exploration and discovery :)
1. Self-Exploration: Take the time to explore your interests and passions. Reflect on what activities make you genuinely happy and fulfilled. This will provide valuable insights into potential career paths that align with your passions.
2. Research: Investigate various career options and industries. Talk to professionals in fields that interest you, attend career fairs, and utilize online resources to gain a better understanding of what each path entails.
3. Skill Assessment: Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Identify skills and talents you excel in and those you'd like to develop. This can help you narrow down career choices that leverage your strengths.
4. Academic Guidance: Seek advice from school counselors, teachers, and mentors. They can offer valuable perspectives and help you match your interests with educational programs.
5. Internships and Volunteering: Participating in internships or volunteering opportunities can provide hands-on experience and help you decide if a particular career is the right fit for you.
6. Set Goals: Establish both short-term and long-term goals. Setting clear objectives can give you a sense of direction and motivation as you work towards your chosen career.
7. Flexibility: Remember that career paths can evolve. You don't have to have it all figured out right away. Be open to change and adapt as you gain more knowledge and experience.
8. Networking: Build a network of professionals and peers in your areas of interest. Networking can provide valuable insights, mentorship, and potential job opportunities down the road.
9. Take Your Time: Don't rush the decision-making process. It's okay to explore different interests and options during your college years. Many people change careers multiple times in their lives.
10. Trust Yourself: Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. Trust your instincts, and choose a path that aligns with your values, interests, and long-term goals.
Remember that deciding on a career path is a journey, and it's okay to be unsure at this stage. Embrace the process of self-discovery, and you'll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your future.