Skip to main content
15 answers
17
Asked 389 views

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.

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

17

15 answers


0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Jacob’s Answer

It's completely normal to feel uncertain about your career path, especially with so many options available. Here's some advice to help you navigate this important decision:

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.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Katherine’s Answer

Hi! Deciding on a career path can be a challenging task, especially when faced with a wide range of options. To navigate this process effectively, start by exploring various subjects and interests. You may engage in extracurricular activities, internships, and volunteer work to gain exposure to different fields. As you progress, conduct self-assessments and reflections to identify your strengths, passions, and values. Use the resources around you and seek guidance from your teachers, mentors, peers, and professionals to gain insights and advice.

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 :)
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Afrad’s Answer

Hi Olivia!

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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Jen’s Answer

There is no firm timeclock for when your career should be decided. Focus on exposing yourself to and learning about lots of different careers and then consider reaching out to people in your network to learn more about the pluses and minuses of different career options. People are often very willing to share their career journeys and it can be really helpful to hear first hand what some of the challenges and wins have been that different people have directly experienced. Volunteer jobs are another great way to get exposure into different career tracks before fully committing. It's also okay to make mistakes and pivot. You can change your career path during your career to suit your goals at different stages of life.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Fahad’s Answer

There’s no specific right time as everyone is different, but if you know enough to ask the question then its not too early!

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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Roberto’s Answer

Hello Olivia, start today to experiment several fields, so that you can identify the one that really makes you always eager to learn more, spend time and never be tired. To be successful in a profession, you need to be an expert. And to become an expert you need to study, practice, make mistakes and learn. This is possible only if you have passion in what you do.
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.
Sincerely
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Judith-Ann’s Answer

HI, Olivia. You are at the beginning of a great adventure. My hope for you is that you let yourself enjoy the journey. Be in the moment, be authentic, and be curious. I would like to recommend some very helpful books:https://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-Meaningful/dp/1984861204
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.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Paul’s Answer

Olivia, you've asked an excellent question! The key to choosing a major lies in your interests and skills, along with its potential to open doors to various job opportunities. Here are two additional points to consider:

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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Edward’s Answer

Your approach to this could vary based on how diverse your interests are. If you're intrigued by the idea of a scientific career, but also drawn to technology or even the arts, it might be a good idea to first identify where your true strengths or talents lie. It's always a good idea to pursue something you're naturally good at! Once you've identified your broader field of interest, you can then focus your studies and gradually narrow down as you choose your major and internships.

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.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

James Constantine’s Answer

You should strive to choose a career as early as you can. Remember, our lifespan is typically around 70 years, and you wouldn't want to be labeled as a late bloomer. However, it's not uncommon for some to start late. What's truly fascinating is the world of entrepreneurship. Individuals like Elon Musk may not have completed advanced education, yet they've established successful corporations. These are the types of businesses that have boards of directors, chairmen, and CEOs. Donald Trump is another example of someone who's made it big in this league, and he likely still possesses the skills to do so. So, start as early as possible. Even if it means working at McDonald's, it's crucial to immerse yourself in the world, interact with people, and learn from them. Discover your strengths, find out what brings you happiness, and pursue it.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Nivea’s Answer

Start exploring your interests in high school, but don't rush. Reflect on your passions, seek guidance from mentors, and explore various subjects and fields in college. Connect with professionals and set goals to help you narrow down your career path.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. Many students have similar question. Firstly, you may find out what career you have interest.
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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Nikki’s Answer

You are not alone! I was the exact same way, and to be honest, it's been 10 years since I graduated college and I'm still not entirely sure what I want to be doing! When I was in college my first major was "undecided" and then I changed my major three times after that. I ended up with a marketing major but now I'm a Change Manager and not even working in marketing. The best thing to do is focus on building skills that are transferable to any job (communicating, strategy, presenting, project management, etc.). I personally believe that business majors lay a good foundation. You also want to make sure it is something you will enjoy. When you enjoy the material you are more likely to want to study and get good grades. There is a huge world out there with many career options so never feel like you have to stick to one. If you end up trying something and you don't like it, you can always change to a different job!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Adeel’s Answer

Olivia, I'm going to give you some contrary advice Life isn't a straight path, and neither is what we do for the 8 hours of our day. If you have a lot of interests then think about the lifestyle you want when you are older and choose something that will help you get to that goal. Our lives are more than what we do for 8 hrs. Your work should fuel the other parts of your life.

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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Leila’s Answer

Hey there! It's totally okay to concentrate on topics that spark your interest. You don't need to lock yourself into a specific career path from the get-go. It's all about discovery at this stage - figuring out what you love and what you don't. You won't really know until you give it a shot. And remember, you're not glued to one career for life. I mean, look at me. I started off studying biology and then made a switch to the tech industry. So, just go with the flow and enjoy the journey!
0