Have you ever been asked the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If not, it is something you have probably given some thought. And, the answer has probably changed several times. If you are struggling to discover what career path you should take, consider the following and weigh your options carefully before making a final decision.
1. Start with where you are. What classes do you take in high school or college that you particularly enjoy? For instance, if you really enjoy your science classes, a career in healthcare or environmental science might be for you. Love math? Perhaps engineering or accounting would be a better fit.
2. Volunteer. Learn more about possible careers while giving back to your community. This is a great way to test the waters of potential career options with no strings attached. Volunteer at an animal rescue group or veterinary hospital if you have a passion for working with animals. There are many volunteer opportunities at hospitals and nursing homes if you are considering a career in healthcare. There is not a better way to get a feel for a day in the life of a job than by actually experiencing the environment and duties that occur on a regular basis.
3. Try something new. Take a class that teaches you a skill you have always wanted to learn like drafting, automotive repair or cake decorating. You might find a hidden talent you didn’t know you had. There are often low-cost community instructed classes available for everything from photography to dance.
4. Already have a marketable skill? Try starting your own business. See if you can find local companies who’d be willing to pay you for your help with web design, writing, or art. By doing some freelance work, you have a great chance to make some money while exploring a possible career path.
5. Many schools offer special visitation days for interested potential students. For example, Western Dakota Tech holds WDT Eagle Night several times throughout the year. This is an excellent opportunity to meet with Instructors, Financial Aid, Admissions, Career Services, Special Services and Counseling Services. This is a one-stop-shop where you can get all of your questions answered. Even if you are unsure of which direction you want to take, Eagle Night is a great chance to gain some inspiration, and ease some anxiety that you may be feeling when thinking about what you want to do in the future.
So how can you tell what you might want to be when “I grow up”? The best time to decide this, of course, seems to be sometime around middle school, but if you happen to have gotten to high school (or beyond) and have no idea what lies in store for you beyond graduation, don’t despair. There is never a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ time to start planning for the future.
The most important thing to remember when trying to decide what to do after high school is that there is not an incorrect answer. The best way to determine whether a career is a good fit for you or not is to try it, and you can’t do that until you learn something about it. If you think that you have an opportunity to try something that could turn into a career that you love, it would be time well spent to test the waters. Don’t be afraid to try lots of things in attempt to find the one you’ll love to get up and do every day. Remember, it is okay to change your mind if you find out you don’t like something. You never know till you try, so take a risk and go out and experience some career options.