4 answers

I don't know what I want to be yet. Will I ever figure it out?

Asked Phoenix, Arizona

I've had this question burning in the back of my mind since I was in middle school. It seems like everyone around me has it figured out except for me. I know I have an interest in the medical field, but also in the arts and design. I thought I wanted to be a massage therapist until I realized I was doing it for my parents because they wanted me to. I enjoyed the science classes I took, but they were very difficult. It made me wonder if I would be able to handle it. Then I wanted to be a graphic designer, but realized that maybe I'm no creative enough. I'm headed to college in less than seven months and I still have no idea what I want to major in. #college-advice #medical-practice #senioryear #medical #fine-arts

4 answers

Jacob’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Hi, Celine,

I think it is common for people in your shoes to feel the way you do. While it may seem like everyone around you has it figured out, the simple fact is that they don't. As you go through your college and early career experience, your interests will likely change and you will question whether you are on the right path. Honestly, I've been in the workforce for five years and definitely am still working out what I ultimately want to do.

It's good that you are thinking about this early on - do your best to backwards plan as much as you can, but do so broadly. Find programs that are applicable to many different fields. For example, if I thought I might want to work at a think tank doing research but also was considering consulting for a professional services firm, I might have pursued something like economics or math. Both of those majors would provide tremendous technical skills that are extremely attractive to employers and a wide range of career options. I think you could make a case that graphic design fits the bill for a major that is valued in many different fields too.

If you're struggling to make meaningful progress on career options, I linked a career guide below and HIGHLY recommend you read the entire thing. I know it is long, but I can't overstate how beneficial I think it is. Read a section a day and you will finish in no time. The research is also very interesting and it's very well written.

Best of luck - don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything.

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

  • https://80000hours.org/career-guide/job-satisfaction/

Eric’s Answer

Updated New Jersey, New Jersey

If you have interest in art and design as well as the medical field, consider both.

Check out the Association of Medical Illustrators: https://www.ami.org/medical-illustration/learn-about-medical-illustration

Also, maybe you don't want to draw hearts or feet, maybe you prefer to be part of the medical world in the capacity of marketing and advertising, check out this list of companies that are considered Medical Marketing and Advertising firms/agencies: http://www.mmm-online.com/top-100-agencies/section/5068/

There is no reason in the world you cannot apply both your interests into one field of study and career. If you think it you can be it.

I recently said my good lucks to a student that was off to pursue her BS in both Photography and Biology because she wants to be a Medical Photographer.

Danielle’s Answer


Most students don't "decide" what they want until their sophomore year of college. I work in higher ed and always suggest to my undecided freshmen: take one of everything you think might like, and at least one you think is crazy, then go from there. You might find out you love the crazy.

I'm glad to hear that you've explored a wide range of interests already! That's fantastic! Maybe they're not exactly the career you want, but they're helping you determine what sort of things you like to do.

Also keep in mind: The average person changes their job/career three times over the course of their life. Given that, don't put pressure on yourself to have it all figured out now, who you are and what you are driven to do is going to grow and develop during college and later as a professional.

Don't commit to being x professional your entire life, instead aim towards being a full-time learner in x, y, or z fields. Maybe graphic design and medicine. Maybe not. Keep your options open!

Danielle recommends the following next steps:

  • Make heavy use of your academic advisors, both the general and when you select a major, the ones for your program. Before selecting x major, I would talk to those advisors prior and ask this: what do grads from this program normally go on to do?
  • ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT: When you get to school, go to the Career Center in the first month. It's never too early to start and it is going to put you ahead of the game in terms of designing the college experience that gets you the job you want later. One of the saddest things is that a lot of times students don't go until their senior year and they're in panic mode. Don't put yourself in that position.
  • I think taking a look at O*Net is going to help you discover more about what sorts of jobs exist and possibly blend some of your interests. https://www.onetonline.org/ type in a job in the "occupation quick search" and go from there. It sounds like your family has a lot of opinions about what you do, presenting them with the information found here can help sell them on what you find might be interesting: education you need, skills/characteristics you have, what these jobs pay, are theses jobs growing in the next 5-10 years?

Gloria’s Answer



I would suggest that you consider where are your strengths, as well as to what are your talents. Teachers that know you well, adults that you trust can likely give you honest answers about those questions. Medicine is challenging, but very fulfilling if it is your passion. . It does require a lot of sacrifices and hard work. You mentioned that you like art. Don’t discount it if you love it. You can start college and take some general education classes your first year and also do some life sciences and an art class to see where you do best. You don’t need to have it figured out right now. Enjoy the fact that you are headed to college in 7 months. Don’t compare yourself to others. Life is not a race. Take your time to decide and be true to yourself and you will figure it out. Many bless your way.

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