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Figuring Out Your Career at 22

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The first comment most four-year traditional college students hear upon arriving to campus is, “Enjoy your time. These years fly by.” What is funny about this piece of advice is that since it is replayed over and over, people tend to brush it off. Now, as a second semester senior, I wish I would have realized a long time ago how true these words really are.

It seems like yesterday that I moved into my college dorm, and seems as if tomorrow is the day I will be graduating. For many, graduation means figuring out the next chapter of your life — new cities, new friends and importantly a new job. Figuring out your career at 22 is nothing short of a daunting task.

The launch of a career is one of the most pivotal moments of young adulthood. Choosing the right company, electing to start your own business, or continuing education in professional school or graduate school all can turn your life in drastically different directions. What is even more stressful about these choices is that you are having to make them all before your brain is even fully developed.

There are a few questions to ask yourself when graduation is looming. First, what is most important to you in your career? Do you want to live in a certain place? Is it important for you to have mobility? What is truly your make or break, your “I am not settling for anything less than ____” piece of the puzzle?

Second, ask yourself what makes you happy. An answer to this question could be as simple as “helping others,” or could be more complex. From experience, and from what all of my mentors have told me thus far, if you choose what makes you happy then you cannot go wrong. What fulfills you may also change over your lifetime, and that is perfectly fine. We as humans are made to evolve, made to grow, and will not be the same person we are at 22 for the rest of our lives.

Third, ask yourself: do you enter the workforce now? Personally, I plan on attending graduate school and pursuing my PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Is graduate or professional school for you, or do you want to hit the ground running and launch your career? Choosing to enter the workforce now can mean avoiding additional loans, and skips the dreaded standardized testing and application process. But electing to continue on into higher education can, in some situations, mean a higher paycheck down the line. Mentorship can be an important factor in answering this question, and talk with as many people in your intended field as you can to decide what may be the right path.

While these questions may not give you a concrete answer on what your career will look like as a newly graduated adult, these questions have been impactful in my journey. Remember that your career will morph just as you do, and you will more than likely not have the same job for the rest of your life.

Abby Davies

South Carolina '22

U of SC '22. Public Health major.
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