Advice on Choosing the Right Career Path

Stephanie Chukwuma January 20, 2012

Confused, annoyed, frustrated, worried! All these words describe the anxious young student contemplating what to major in or what career path to choose. Some people know from birth and till this day quote, “I knew since I was 10 years old that I wanted to be a doctor, and here I am in medical school years later.” Yes, a select few do in fact have this innate conviction of what they will be doing in the future, but what about those who are indecisive and happen to change their mind? Those who are easily influenced and those who have way too many interests to choose just one major? Taking all these questions into consideration, here are some things to think about when making your decision.

First of all, the somewhat cliché saying is true, you have to pursue something you love, or at least something you like. This will be your number one motivation throughout your career. So, if you don’t enjoy it? Why bother? 

Another tip to take into consideration is that no position is permanent. You are free to test the waters, and try new things to find out what exactly you like and what you don’t like. You are not limited by your degree, your work experience, or by your connections. Truthfully, the only person who can limit yourself is you. If you are genuinely interested in a lot of different things, it is up to you to actively seek after opportunities that will help you hone your skills. This leads to my next point.  If you know someone who is already an active participant in something you’re interested in, speak to him/her about it.

Find yourself a role model and be proactive. Asking a few questions or shadowing a professional could be all the help you need to narrow down the field that is best suited for you. Most likely, the easiest way to figure this out would be through an internship. Internships give you the chance to learn hands on rather than sitting in a classroom for hours listening to a lecture that you can’t relate to the real world. If you want to be a writer, write in a journal on a daily basis, email a few writers you know, or write for your school paper. If you want to be a nurse, volunteer at your local hospital, complete a rotational program over the summer, or find someone who is in a position you want to be in and ask him or her a few questions.

Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. Determination is key and in the end, you will have a clearer idea of what you want to do.  After all, experience is the best teacher. So, sit back and take notes while you cross a few possible career options off your list.

Aside from gaining the real world experience you need, it is also very important to realize that just because you have many interests does not mean you have to pursue all of those interests professionally. You may want to choose whatever you love the most as your career path, and leave your other talents as something to do on the side. You may even choose to venture into them at a later time in your life. 

Please, keep these tips in mind and give yourself one less problem to stress about. Choosing your career path is not about doing what your parents or relatives want you to do. It is not about doing what gets you the most money. It is not about getting that incredible car of your dreams or sheik wardrobe. It is about fulfilling your aspirations and doing what you enjoy. The saying goes that "do something you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

So, close your ears to the voice of negativity, explore your options, shorten your list of choices, and take your pick. Now, what you thought was challenging becomes easy. The path is right in front of you.

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