The decision-making process about what you want to do with your education can be intimidating. Whether in high school, college, or neither. From my personal experience, a lot of trial-and-error went into choosing a career I’m passionate about. My decision to practice medicine as a physician assistant involved my love of caring for people, critical thinking, teamwork, and science. Trying to gauge what I wanted to do was not easy- but it’s nothing to be afraid of! Get excited about what your future holds! Don’t let your fear of what could happen hold you back from doing something you love. Here are a few tips on choosing a career that will hopefully help you out.
1. Shadowing: It’s one thing to read about a career on the Internet, and another to observe its implementation in the real world. I chose to shadow different medical professions and physician assistant was the one that seemed to fit me the best. Regardless of what you’re interested in, shadowing can help narrow down the things you are or are not interested in. It’s important to see yourself in that career for the rest of your life. The experience of shadowing or an internship can also give you an edge on other people in your field.
2. Listen to Advice: … but don’t let others decide for you. They can tell you the strengths they see in you and encourage you toward things they know you’re passionate about. But it’s not their life. It’s yours! You should do what you want to do. My parents told me what traits they saw in me and gave me advice on choosing a career, but did not decide my path. Focus on what you enjoy and let other people worry about themselves. However, remember to always keep in mind how your decisions affect other people, especially your family.
3. Flexibility: Understand that sometimes the profession you initially choose will not be the one you ultimately end up with. And that’s okay. It ties back to the trial-and-error process. Sometimes you need to learn what doesn’t work to find something that does work. For example, my Mom graduated in 1982 with a B.S. in Psychology. She actually ended up working as a full-time American Sign Language interpreter right after graduation. After staying home for a few years, in 2014 she decided to go to graduate school to become a high school deaf/hard of hearing educator. And she loves it! Allow yourself to be open to change.
4. Passion: Do you love it? Does the idea of doing this for a long time excite you? Are you interested in the classes and do you (sometimes) enjoy doing homework? How does it use your favorite skills? Maybe you love being creative, artistic, and working with groups. Find a profession that uses those factors. You should love what you’re going to do. That ties into not letting others choose your profession for you. Are you excited yet?!