Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?

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We’ve all been asked this question hundreds of times throughout our lives. Whether your answer has changed from doctor to lawyer, or from astronaut to accountant, or even if it has stayed the same, the most important part of choosing a career path is finding something that makes you happy and fits your needs. In my case, from the time I was first asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer was always teacher. I spent almost 20 years giving everyone that same answer, until one day, it changed. College is a time for self-reflection, to make mistakes, and to change your mind and change it again, and while I was in my second year at college, the answer changed to “I don’t know.”

I am here to tell you that it is perfectly okay to not know what you want to do. You can change your mind dozens of times throughout your life, and just because your degree says one thing, doesn’t mean you can’t do something else. I have a degree in Physics that is currently sitting on my shelf collecting dust, as I purse another degree in Higher Education. My career path has changed at least 3 times already, and who knows if it will change again.

As you think about your career journey, here are some things to consider:

1.     Identify your skills: Every career requires a different skill set, and being able to identify your skills may help you to find a career that you enjoy and will thrive in.
2.     Determine your goals: What do you want to get out of a career?
3.     Know your work style: Your work style may affect your ability to thrive in certain careers. Are you a team player, or do you prefer to work individually?
4.     Try and try again: It’s okay to try a career and determine that you hate it. Internships, co-ops, fellowships and other experiential learning are ways to test out a career before making major decisions.
5.     Network, network, network: you never know who you might meet at a family event, a friend’s dinner, or at mom’s company holiday party. Online networking via LinkedIn is also great for informational interviews.
6.     Visit the Career Center: We’re here to help! Stop by or make an appointment with the Career Center! We have resources to help you identify your strengths, determine your goals, look for jobs and internships and more!

Take this time during college to reflect on your career choices. Consider trying something that sparks your interest, maybe interning at a company, volunteering with a non-profit, or shadowing a professional. No harm can come from trying something new. Nothing is ever set in stone and there is always time to change the road you’re on.

Cheryl Posner
Graduate Assistant- Career Development
The Career Center

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