Does this meme seem all well too familiar to you? Whether you’re still struggling with choosing your desired career pathway or you’ve figured it out from tip to tail, you are most certainly not alone in your pursuits. Don’t believe it? We’ve reached out to a handful of students just like you to ask which end of the spectrum they find themselves in:
Picking out your future career, let alone deciding what your next step would be after highschool, is like playing a game of darts; a risky one that is. You may never know where that point hits till you look back. It’s perfectly normal for some to be running around in circles while pulling their hair out in frustration. Don’t be discouraged, the good news is the path to greatness and success isn’t set in stone! Many students, upon reaching their final years in school, often find themselves faced with a common question much more difficult than their term paper: What do I do next?
Image 1: Decision making in terms of future plans
Of course there are some students who have their entire career paths planned out and have a clear idea on where exactly they need to go. If you’re part of this crowd – Congratulations! If not, don’t be disheartened; it’s perfectly alright even if you haven’t. Not everyone has their futures mapped out from A – Z, but rest assured, it isn’t too late. Many students tend to be indecisive; they cannot seem to choose which path they would prefer to the other. Teens with multiple interests in different paths find themselves at a standstill on which one to pick; for example, you may study social sciences but you may also have a passion for writing and literature. Does this mean you should follow the path of law to be a lawyer? Or should you rather be an author? What if you wanted both?
Image 2: Alignment of the subject stream chosen with the career one pursues
Before we try to answer that question, we need to first understand the purpose of pursuing higher education. Some of you must be wondering, ‘why go through all the trouble of pursuing higher studies in the first place?’ There are many underrated benefits we gain through the pursuit of higher education that we often don’t realize. We can sum up these benefits into four main advantages: career preparation, broader practical benefits, personal development and aid in pursuing a passion. What many of us fail to understand is that higher education is much different from the regular school routine you have been accustomed to – no more 6 a.m., no more homework, no more sitting through lessons for hours. This unfamiliar yet flexible schedule allows you more freedom to strike your own boundaries when embarking upon new projects.
More importantly, as individuals who knit up a society in the larger global community, there is an inherent contribution both you and I have as responsible citizens. Whatever shape or form it may come in – an entrepreneurial venture; a humanitarian movement or a novel scientific discovery – the potential to become a changemaker breathes in all of us. With globalisation at its forefront, in this ever-evolving world of technology, it’s more than beneficial to think one step ahead. Be that Global Citizen who dissolves and surpasses all socio-cultural deterrents. How exactly?
The blur in distinction between following your passion and having a well paid job to sustain yourself is that it isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive. To narrow this down though, there needs to be a degree of “internal evaluation”. Here are our top three tips to start you off:
- Self-Reflection: Societal pressures may more often than not lead us into a career where ten years down the line, you might regret. This doesn’t have to be the case if you sit down with yourself and reflect on where your true passions and talents lie.
- Be Practical: Whether it be job satisfaction, the joy of service or earning big bucks, the outcome of your career is also dependent on selecting the most suitable college major or university degree and making an investment towards your education. For example, possible pathways that may emerge in the near future could range from Business Data Analytics to Environmental Conservation and International Relations.
- Do your own Research: Selecting your path of higher education and climbing up the academic ladder is no casual matter to rush into. Make sure you reserve ample time to explore your options and shortlist your preferences. Be sure to listen to experts in your relevant fields, who have already carved out their path.
All in all, despite the challenges and demands, affordability and even peer pressure to weave through the ocean of opportunities out there, the hurdles to overcome are doubtlessly worth the effort.
The Media Club of Royal Institute International School, Nugegoda