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Articles > School July, 17, 2020

Six Steps to figuring out which career/degree is right for you?

Loren Madnack
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If you’re like me then you’ve probably taken hundreds of career and personality quizzes, or you’ve read just about everything there is to read on all the career options available to you. But, do you still feel like you cannot seem to settle on what you really want?

That was me, just last year when I was applying for my undergraduate study. Pressure comes from all angles when you’re choosing: what to pursue at university; expectations from your parents, peers and teachers; what you think you should do; what you want to do; and for some of us, it might be that the decision means moving to a whole new country.

It’s so easy for people to say “follow your passion”, but what does that even mean? What if you don’t have a passion or you have more than one? These are questions that no one can answer for you, because the answer isn’t just one thing – it’s a journey with twists and turns.

I had to figure that out after years of stressing, but you don’t have to. Here are the steps to gain clarity:

Step 1: Write it down or say it out loud

When you need to sort something out, it always helps to write it down. But, for some people that means discussing and being vocal. The main objective is to get down all your thoughts, emotions and options, this will let you have an overview of it all.

Don’t worry about being organised with this, it’s supposed to look like what’s going on in your mind and right now. Everything might be all over the place and that’s ok.

Keeping a journal will allow you to admit things to yourself that you perhaps cannot say out loud.

Step 2: Don’t follow your Passion

What I mean by this is, do not think to simply follow your passion, but broaden it. Don’t limit yourself to one career path, instead allow flexibility in your decision.

For example; I used to think I was going to study Ancient History and pursue a career in that field, but mid-application I shifted to Social Anthropology. To some, this might seem like a major shift but digging deeper I found an inclination towards S.A.

In other words, what is important to realise is that there is more than just a specific field of study.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Values

Ask yourself these four questions:

  • What are my best skills? Writing? Marketing? Memorising? Art?
  • What do I value most? Health/Fitness? Cultures? Creating?
  • What do I want to do forever? Travel? Learn?
  • What do I want to bring to the world?

After doing this, try to broaden your research, venture into other courses in the field you were perhaps interested in. Try to take your time with this, rushing it will only lead to stress.

Step 4: Take Opinions as Rules Advice

Take the advice of those around you into consideration, because they perhaps see skills and qualities in you that you cannot see. Do not ask them which career you should choose but ask them what they think are your best skills and qualities.

Step 5: Do Not Plan

This was the hardest part for me, because I needed to have everything planned out and see exactly where I was going. But that was a limiting mindset for choosing a career path.

Allow yourself to branch out of your comfort zone and if you cannot make a clear choice, then choose the option that is most versatile. One which will give you the opportunity to experience various aspects of work-life so that you can move on from there.

It’s alright to NOT have everything figured out and to need more time. This is why the next step might be the option for you.

Step 6: Take a Gap Year

A gap year is about experiential education through travel, work or apprenticeship. It’s a great way to deepen you personal awareness, your skills and to take a break from studies. Being exposed to different situations and lifestyles will help you break out of your usual environment and grow in knew ways.

So do I have it all figured out? Definitely not. However, I am pleased with my next step and I’ve been discovering new interests and skills since then. I hope these tips give you some clarity and help you in any way possible, thank you for reading and good luck!


Let us know what you think

Have you got tips to share? Or are you currently trying to choose which option is right for you? We’d love to hear from you, comment below or share your own story by writing to us at: editor@youthsight.com.

And if you enjoyed reading this you may also like:

How to make the most of your school life

Results Day: how I coped with failing in a year of chaos

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