Family, finances, fear of failure, and friends: the four main sources of academic pressure. As you’re surfing the waves of the high school and college experience, you’ll come to realize that making decisions that will greatly affect your imminent future and possible career path will be anything but easy. With relatives constantly asking you want you want to do with your future and pressuring you to do well in school, the heavy costs of college tuition, the little devil on your left shoulder telling you that you’re not good enough, and your peers always making remarks about how they have their whole future planned out, deciding what path you want to take after high school is one of the most difficult, yet important decisions you’ll ever make. However, if you keep these pressures at the forefront of your mind, you may lose yourself in the heat of it all. You may end up taking a left turn, and drive along a road that you never wanted to take in the first place. Here are ways to make sure you take ahold of your future before others do.
Make Yourself a Priority
When considering all the factors that contribute to deciding your career path, you should always remember that this is your future; no one else’s. The decisions that you make will impact you, not your grandparents, not your teachers, and not your friends. For some, the opinions of loved ones play a huge role when making choices about one’s future. However, in the case of choosing colleges and career paths, you may have to make your own opinion a priority above those of your loved ones because like I said, this is your future.
Finding What You Love
So many people end up pursuing career paths that they aren’t completely happy with because they didn’t have enough confidence to do what they really wanted to do, or they didn’t think it would be enough to keep them financially stable, or because their family is expecting them to carry on a legacy of a specific career; the list could go on and on. There is a plethora of pressures, fears, and risks that come with deciding what career path you want to take, but it is important that you go through with what you want to do regardless of these fears and risks. You should decide upon a career path based on something that you enjoy doing. Pursuing a job that you love and enjoy is one of the most rewarding things in life. Think about all of your passions and your hobbies. Take into consideration what you want to accomplish in life, your interests, and your values. What do you find exciting? What kind of working environment do you prefer? What’s important to you? What do you excel at; what skills do you have? Combine all of these aspects and create a list of possible careers that fit your criteria. Maybe even consider fields that you’re not so familiar with but are interested in pursuing in the future. Which of these things can you see yourself doing for a living? Once you’ve narrowed the list down, research the remaining topics as careers. Look at how many years of school are required/recommended for a degree in those fields, the average annual salary for employees, and all of the aspects and positions of the job. When you’ve done your research, choose one, or maybe two, careers that you think will satisfy your desires and needs. Keep these career fields in mind as you continue your high school and college journeys, and participate in things that you think might help you in grasping a better understanding of them. Interested in going into politics? Join the debate team! Want to be an engineer? Enroll in an engineering course and/or a physics course! Interested in becoming a photographer? Join the yearbook staff, or join a photography club! Participating in these things will help you determine whether you truly enjoy certain subjects or not, and possibly help you decide what you want to do in the future.
Dodging the Bullets
Like I said before, this process comes with many pressures, fears, and risks, but it’s essential that you dodge these challenges when it comes to your future. Perhaps you’ll disappoint your parents by deciding to pursue the arts when they wanted you to become a neurosurgeon, or maybe your peers will ridicule you for wanting to become a psychologist, but in the end, doing what YOU want to do and following through with it will make YOU happy, and that’s all that should matter.