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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

I only live one time.”

One day, that thought hit me like a freight train. Despite it being ridiculously obvious, my realization that I only spend a fixed amount of time on earth felt shockingly overwhelming.

With this exceedingly mind-boggling contemplation about my mortality, I started to reflect on various aspects of my life – specifically, my career path. 

For the sake of context, I have studied speech-language-hearing sciences all of my undergraduate career at UT Austin, and have planned to become a speech-language pathologist (SLP) after graduate school. Once I let the existential thought about my life and purpose sink in, I thought to myself…

“What job should I have, or what job should have me?”

What I mean by this is: what is my mindset about my career? Am I choosing a job that sounds rewarding and something other people find enjoyable, and then tailoring myself to it? Or am I choosing a job based on my strengths, what fits me, and what I’m good at?

With this in mind, my post-undergraduate plans started to shift. 

Am I more interested in journalism, writing, management, and media? 

Hasn’t that always been my dream? 

Why did I choose the path to become a speech-language pathologist? 

I am planning to go to graduate school to become an SLP – so now what?

While still unsure about what my future career will manifest into, I have gathered some tips and anecdotes that I feel have helped me move further in the process of deciding what career suits me best. 

1. Think about your truest passions and dreams. Then, have faith that you can achieve them. 

Personally, I have always had a passion for writing, journalism, and media. From my high school newspaper, writing poetry in my free time, and now being involved in Her Campus Magazine, I have always yearned for involving writing in my everyday life. When I think about my dreams and what my ideal life would be, I think of films like 13 Going On 30, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and The Devil Wears Prada. I think of their main characters – Jenna Rink, Andie Anderson, and Andy Sachs. I visualize myself as them – magazine writers and journalists chasing their dreams. Fictional films can spark inspiration into defying odds and creating truth for ourselves amidst doubt that those dreams only exist in movies. That’s what those movies have done for me. They have helped me realize my truest passions and dreams, and helped me believe that I CAN achieve whatever I put my mind to. After all, we only live once, right? 

2. Reflect on what you’re inherently good at and where you can picture yourself authentically succeeding.

In high school, I’m sure many of us can remember taking a plethora of different personality and career tests. While I think a lot of what those tests told me many years ago is still true, I think it’s vital to actively reassess throughout college. For example, in high school I would not have described myself as “creative,” but through college I have noticed being creative is one of my greatest strengths. With that being said, it’s important to also think about what you have always been good at and how you have consistently described yourself to others. For example, I would describe myself as a good writer, empathetic, and a leader. I have always excelled in English, history, and more artistic subjects rather than math and science. Contemplating this, I questioned why I chose the SLP path. While being an SLP involves great empathy and various levels of creativity, it is inherently based in science. Whereas one of my truest passions, writing and journalism, is based mainly in creative expression and English. So with all of this being said, is the career path you’re on leading you to authentically succeed, be yourself, and showcase your strengths? Or is it a career you’re chasing solely on income, outside influence, or just for the sake of choosing a path?

3. Lastly, and possibly the most thought-provoking…When you look back on your life, what do you want to see?

I think this anecdote can be applied to all aspects of life, especially career. While we all know this fact to be true – we only live once – have you really let that sink in? Are you spending your days studying for a degree that will lead you to a career that you love and will love you back – a truly rewarding career? Are you looking forward to where your career plans are heading, or is your comfort solely based on looking forward to a certain income? Or certain opinions and acceptance from others? For me, I hesitate to spend so much time and money towards graduate school, studying something I don’t feel I am motivated enough to excel at. While I am so passionate about various aspects of the field of speech-language-hearing sciences and the SLP career, I am eager to further explore a passion (journalism and writing) I have unnecessarily suppressed. While many people may not be gearing their life towards being career-centered, if you plan to start a career or move about various ones, I believe it’s important to remember what you truly want your life to look like.

Making big decisions such as choosing a specific career path to follow can be daunting and overwhelming. When thinking about this, I always give myself paramount compassion and grace.

As a final thought, remember to trust your gut when choosing a career and remember your dreams were placed in your heart and mind for a reason…

Go and chase them!

Hi! I'm Abby! I'm a proud Longhorn studying speech-language-hearing sciences. While most of my background is in language, communication, and disability advocacy and awareness, I also love to read, write and journal, make bracelets, get outside, and spend time with my dog, family, and friends. One day I hope to work for a magazine as a writer and editor, or work for a company like Disney or Universal, where I can really unleash myself creatively. I love to write about my personal experiences with mental health, college, relationships and friendships, and pop culture, especially Taylor Swift. Happy reading! XOXO, Abby