What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question has been proposed to us thousands of times as kids, to which we would always respond with our dream of being a fire fighter, actor, or astronaut. But now that I am more than half way through my junior year of high school, it’s apparent that I cannot see myself in any of the typical occupations sketched in children’s books. There’s a world out there of vast opportunities, waiting to be explored. It can be exciting and intimidating at the same time. There are pressures to pick a job with a steady income, a clear path from college to a career, and perhaps a major that won’t cost a fortune from years in university. Sounds familiar? You are not alone. As I have left my childhood imagination, the task of choosing a career has become more realistic and complicated. After all, how am I supposed to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life at seventeen years old? But it’s still doable. How? Just as generations before us did. And guess what? They did it without the kind of technology you and I have access to. But first question is when is the right time? As all high school juniors will attest, the second half of eleventh grade is mostly dedicated to thinking about college. There are only five more months until I embark on the epic journey of the college admission process. Going into senior year, it’ll be useful to have an idea about what I might like to major in since some schools require students to apply for specific programs. It is important to consider your passions and talents before anything else. This may seem obvious to you, but it is very easy for students to get carried away with majors that have a good reputations or high salaries, without actually imagining themselves working in that field. So how do you make sure that major you choose is fulfilling both purposes – purpose of your life and purpose of a good pay-check?
First start with compiling all you have done so far, both inside and outside school. That will tell you your natural inclinations. Recently, I created my Cirkled in (www.cirkledin.com) profile. By putting all my activities and accomplishments at one place in my profile, I could see my holistic strengths, talents and interests. It was actually quite uplifting. l also took an online Myers-Briggs personality test on a free website called www.16personalities.com where a short 10-minute quiz tells you about your personality type. From there, it’s all just a matching game. I learned that I am an ENFJ: the teacher, advisor, and public relations specialist. As an extravert, who finds joy in helping people, any job that focuses on systems and spreadsheets will not be as fulfilling for me. These initial resources gave me a starting point for looking at different careers, and possible majors. For any high school students with no idea about what they might want to study in college, I would highly suggest first getting some idea about your strengths, talents and interest, using free resources like Cirkledin. Then look at the types of work you would enjoy based on all this and your personal inclinations. Does interacting with people energize you? If yes, consider the fields of medicine, law enforcement, or sales. Or does spending time with people drain you? Maybe careers such as engineering, writing, or computer programing are more appealing.