With the job market as competitive as it is today, many people stress over whether or not they are choosing the right career paths. High school students are pressured with finding out what they want to study when they go to college and what careers they wish to pursue upon graduation. Yes, it is good to plan and set goals, because without these there will be nothing to work towards or look forward to, but how do you make sure you are planning the right future for yourself?
Unfortunately it isn’t until you actually get into college and start taking classes that you can judge whether or not your planning has paid off. What happens though mid semester when you realize you are going down a path you no longer wish to pursue? Believe it or not there are a few reasons many people won’t switch their major in the middle of their college career. These range from the arduous process of declaring another major to financial issues, and even because students believe certain majors will look more impressive on a resume than others.
Many students in fact change their majors at least two times during their college careers. The most important things to remember if you are having difficulties like this are to be honest with yourself and to use the resources available to you.
When you first get the feeling that you might not want to continue with what you are currently studying, stop and ask yourself a few questions. Think about the dream job you want. What are the true reasons behind wanting that job? Picking a career path for monetary and esteem related benefits are probably the worst reasons to pursue that career. When your wallet and your vanity are driving your desires, not your heart and your passion, you know you might need to reconsider the path you are going down.
Think about the class itself. Are you just frustrated because the homework assignment you are doing is difficult or do you generally have trouble in all of your classes? Have you exhausted your extra help efforts and are still having difficulty? Are you at least interested in what you are learning in your classes or does going to class feel like a chore? What many students realize when they reach the end of their sophomore year in college is that with the exception of a few required classes that everyone dreads, they generally do enjoy going to class. School should be fun! You should be pursuing something that you are excited about and want to learn.
If you have answered those questions and have really thought about what you might want to do if you weren’t in your current major, you might want to begin talking to your parents, and advisers. Are your parents the reason you are in that field of study? In certain cultures it has been noticed that parents are a big if not the only factor in deciding what their children will study in college. This might be something to talk to them about. Your advisers and career counselors can really help you in these situations. This is after all what they do for a living.
It is also helpful to do some research on your own. Think about your hobbies and what you are good at. Don’t just go through your school’s list of majors saying “Yes, I’m good at Electrical Engineering” and “No, I’m not good at Asian Studies.” Think of what you do in your spare time? Do you like to cook or bake? Maybe a culinary career might be right for you. Are you a creative person or are you more of an analytical person? Ask yourself a few questions to find out what you are good at, not what you think you are good at, and what you are naturally skilled at doing.
As you continue your research remember this, there are more jobs in a particular field than you may expect. Maybe you were planning on a career in the medical field, but a doctor or nurse might not be the right fit. There are a lot of other careers in the medical field that you might like as well.
Many if not all colleges have a liberal arts requirement in addition to the major requirement classes you need to take to graduate. At the start of your college career take a diverse array of classes to satisfy these liberal arts requirements. In doing this you will begin to notice which classes you like, and which you don’t like. You can find out if you like areas such as philosophy or economics which you might not have been exposed in high school. A lot of schools also offer you the opportunity to take one class in a program as sort of a test to see if you would be interested in continuing.
If you have done extensive research and utilized all of your resources and are still confused as to what you want to do, maybe you might want to consider a different school. Many schools such as the Star Career Academy offer performance-based occupational training in fields such as Cosmetology, Hotel & Restaurant Management, Baking and Medicine. They offer hands on training at their campuses, and also partner with real industry professionals, allowing their students to receive the best, real world training.
Last and most importantly know this. You are not alone. Many students across the country struggle with not knowing what majors to declare and career paths to pursue. The difference is between those who just give up and those who work and finding any other options and acting on those options.