This article was written by our Everly Mag Intern, Rachael. Get to know Rachael and our other interns here!
One of the hardest questions to answer as you go through school is, “What do you want to build your career in?” The truth is, the answer might change several times in your life. And that is okay! The most important thing to remember is that your professional career is a journey. It took all of high school as well as my first year of college to realize that medical school wasn’t where I wanted to be. And it wasn’t until I finished a degree in business that I even went to nursing school.
Since your professional life is a journey, you’ve got to have a starting point. So start simple by reflecting on yourself and learning about who you are as a person! Remember, your feelings and your likes are totally valid. If you don’t like something, you don’t like it! Don’t force it, but be open to change. Your opinions about a topic may change as your personality changes over time, so be willing to accept yourself for who you are now and also who you may end up becoming.
1. Figure out what you spend your free time doing.
Ask yourself all of the questions that you can. Start with the question, “What are you doing outside of school?” Here are some more questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have any hobbies? What are they? What makes you excited to talk to people about? Maybe you can find a way to turn your hobby into your career.
- Do you find yourself leading events in your community? Maybe you are called to administration or management!
- What do you like to read? Do you even like to read? If the answer is no, you probably want to avoid being a writer or an editor.
- Are you playing sports outside of school? What do you like about sports? Is it that you’re working with a team, or do you like the discipline that certain sports require? Are you fascinated when someone on your team suffers an injury? Maybe you’re interested in the anatomy and physiology side of sports.
- How does shopping make you feel? Why do you enjoy about it? Maybe that time you’ve spent shopping may be because you have an underlying passion for fashion or economics.
Whatever you’re doing, the key here is to figure out the “why” of the reason you are interested in it.
2. Classes and In-School
Ask yourself what classes you are most excited to attend each day. If you don’t like any, then what classes do you sit in and feel like the information clicks in? If you can’t think of any classes you have taken or are in right now, what classes do you think would be interesting to take? Take them and find out!.
It’s also important to think about the classes you are good at. There may be an underlying talent or skill in an area that you’ve never thought twice about exploring! Similarly, if there is something you struggle more in or you hate, try to avoid a field that is based in that topic. If you hate chemistry, you probably don’t want to be a chemical engineer or a pharmacist. If you hate public speaking, then maybe sales or being a news anchor isn’t meant for your career.
3. Take Personality Tests
We all like taking Buzzfeed Quizzes, right? Buzzfeed’s older cousins in the professional world are personality tests like Myers-Briggs and Enneagram.
16Personalities is a site that goes through your Myers-Briggs score and looks at how you relate to others based on your personality type. It also talks briefly about your personality in a career as well as fields that could be a good fit for you!
The Enneagram Test helps you figure out which of 9 types you are. There isn’t much career advice on this website, but it does help you learn more about how you function emotionally!
NOTE: Our personalities do change over time ESPECIALLY in high school and early college years. It’s a good idea to take these quizzes once a year and maybe even once a semester because we are all growing a changing! And remember, this is not only normal but also okay.
4. Talk to a Guidance Counselor or Advisor at your school!
Your school should have a guidance counselor that you can talk to about your future. You might even have an advisor depending on how your school is set up. Your advisor/guidance counselor should have career aptitude tests that you can take to explore more of how your personality may line up with a field. They also are great listeners, so they make great outlets to talk to about these things! They have been through the same phase of life as you have, so pick their brains and listen to what they have to say.
5. Don’t cross anything out just because it sounds funny.
The worst thing you can do to yourself is cross a career off your list because it sounds funny to you. You may think that the life of physical therapist sounds odd because you touch people all day, but PT’s often serve as one of the first lines of treatment in any kind of bone or muscle injury. Also, you could even do PT in the sports setting and work with athletic teams, which I think would be so awesome (imagine working with Lebron James on a daily basis.)
Sometimes fields come up that we don’t expect or we don’t know anything about. Try to at least shadow someone in a field or talk to someone in a field before you decide to cross it off your list of potential career fields.
Know that this decision of choosing what you want to build your career in may feel overwhelming at times. But I promise, you have so much more time to decide what you want to do than it may seem. If you decide to go to college, you don’t even need to know what you would like to be when you start your freshman year! However, it’s nice to have a starting block to spring from. Explore your interests, write a few down, and check back soon for tips on how to explore one of the options on your list!
What career field do you think might interest you? Comment below!
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy reading:
- Quiz: What’s Your Next Passion Project?
- 4 Tips to Help You Focus in Time for Finals
- How “Mulan” Changed My Life
- Madysyn Rose on Singing, Reality TV, and What Inspires Her
- The “Hamilton” Generation is the Future of Politics, and We’re Here For It