The thought of forcing yourself to choose a major and career path within the next four years that will supposedly set up the rest of your life is a very daunting task. The lucky ones know exactly what they want to do and how they want to fulfill their passions during and after school. The rest of us are slightly more unlucky. Everyone has passions and things they love to do, but can you make a fulfilling and successful career out of it? Can you make money and live a prosperous life? Would it make more sense to give up passions and go for practicality? These are all questions that might arise during your time in college, and even after!
CONSIDER INTERESTS AND PASSIONS
Don’t only think practically. It is important to consider the sorts of things you love when picking a major or considering different career paths. What are you good at? What do you do in your free time? What other skills or abilities can you develop while you are in college? If you don’t pursue something you love to do and look forward to doing every day, how can you spend the next 40+ years working on something you hate? You can go one step further and assess all sorts of your interests, passions, strengths, weaknesses, and overall skills with self-assessment tests like the Myers-Briggs Indicator or the Strong Interest Inventory to gain a little bit of insight into your personality, interests, and where to go from there.
BALANCE IS KEY
Of course, pursuing your passions and what you love is extremely important, but you should find a good balance between it all. Consider the practical aspects of a career or field you are choosing. If you choose something based solely off of your passions, consider how well the job pays, how needed the job will be in years to come, etc. Is this a steady and well-paying job? Will this job keep you too busy? Will you be forced to live paycheck to paycheck? These are all things you should take into consideration. Explore careers that have similar characteristics to the passions you love, or even choose to do passions and hobbies on the side as a secondary source of income!
Another great way to explore what sorts of options are out there for you is to get some guidance! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most colleges have a career counselor or career center you can visit to ask questions, seek advice, and get help with any uncertainties you may have. Speak with professors you have who teach classes that align with your interests. They are usually more than happy to help out someone with the same interests as them! Another great way to get a sense of guidance is to apply for internships and part-time jobs in any fields you find interesting. Learn from the experience as well as the mentorship of your managers and bosses who have been in these specific fields for months or even years. All of this is also a great way to build a strong professional network which will absolutely come in handy in the future.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind! The most important part of college is learning more about yourself, who you are, and knowing to stay flexible throughout this whole process. College is a time for growth and exploration. You might come into college hoping to graduate and head to med school, and in reality you leave with a degree in real estate. The possibilities are truly endless. Be open to changing your career paths or fields of interest as you discover new passions and hobbies.