Coming into college our freshman year, some of us may know exactly what we want to do with our lives; we know that we want to be a teacher, a doctor or a published writer. The rest of us may still be unsure of where our life is headed and what we want to do in the future. We watch the rest of our peers go forward with their lives, and with pursuing their dreams, while we feel left behind, as we simply fulfill divisional requirements, hoping that we figure out a career, find a job or go on to graduate school by the time four years rolls around. There are also those of us who set off on a career path that we realize later on may not be the path we actually want to take, but may have chosen to get our parents to stop bothering us about a career choice, or chose a career that makes a lot of money. If you feel like you are still not completely satisfied in your heart about what direction you want to take, here are some tips that I think can help you get on the path to a successful, happy and rewarding future:
- Find your passion: What is it that shakes you to your core, or really motivates you in life? Did you really enjoy volunteering at the hospital in high school or tutoring children at your local elementary school? Think about what you love to do and learn about it-- something that no one has to force you do, but that you naturally like to do in your free time. It is important to choose a career that will allow you to do the things that you like to do, and are really into, or else you will be getting up every morning unhappy and miserable about where you are in your life. If you could imagine yourself happily doing this activity or type of work every day for the rest of your life, that is your passion.
2. Think about classes you enjoy: Reflecting on the classes you took last semester and the ones you are currently taking, what classes have you enjoyed in your short time at Wake? Was chemistry lab a bore and a chore or was it thrilling and exciting for you? Did you not mind waking up for that 8 a.m. Economics class or were you hitting snooze every time? Think about what classes you looked forward to going to because you were genuinely excited to learn new information that day, or participate in class. This can help you take more classes within that area of study that may help you find a major you lov, and eventually a career that will last you a lifetime.
- Don’t let others influence you: Parents and peers can often influence our decision making, especially when it comes to choosing a future career. Parents can often push their kids into going into a career that they do not really love, and our peers may make fun of us for wanting to take our future in a different direction that may not be the typical career. I would advise you to drown out the noise, and just do what YOU want to do. Don’t choose a specific job just because it makes a substantial amount money or has fantastic benefits. While those things are very important for survival, it is not worth taking on a job that has all these superb benefits, but has you feeling miserable at the thought of going into work every day. Ultimately, you know what you want to do and what will make you happy, which is something neither your parents nor your peers can determine for you. Listen to those who give you good advice, but just know that no matter what, the decision is up to you alone.
- Lastly, breathe, and let life lead: Take a deep breath, branch out and try new things. Try a new extracurricular activity that you have never heard of, or take classes in other areas that are unfamiliar to you. You may like something that you never knew you liked, and you may not have figured that out had you not tried that challenging class or different activity. This semester I ended up taking a STEM Education class, just as a divisional, but I am enjoying the class so much that now I plan to minor in Education! Talk to your friends and ask them what made them choose the career that they are pursuing and consider careers that would allow you to incorporate the things you like and are strong in. Even though it’s hard, and you may feel internal and external pressure to make this decision, try not to stress out too much about it. Just let life lead you, and don’t be afraid to take some risks along the way. I promise you that you will find out exactly what career is perfect for you, it may just take you longer to find it than others.
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