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What do you want to do with your life…Don’t Know? Let’s Figure it out!

By: Lashauna Harris

Once upon a time, deciding on your career path was such a simple task. The decision changed from time to time, but even then you had the utmost confidence and pride in your choice. It went sort of like this:

Mom: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Kid: “I want to be a doctor” Mom: “How precious!  Why a doctor? ” Kid: “Like helping people I guess”. Ten years later after discovering that the sight of blood and thought of being responsible for another’s life scared the daylights out of me…Career Advisor: “So, have you thought about any career options or what you want to do when you graduate?” College Junior: “I haven’t the slightest idea!”

Ring any bells? It can be difficult to narrow down your potential career options, but at some point we all have to face these decisions. Well, I have come up with a plan of action to put your stress to rest!

FIRST….Assess your skills

What are YOU good at? Is chemistry your thing? Are you a computer whiz? Think about those things that you tend to master. You may not be able to say that you enjoy doing them, but when you do them you do them well.  For me it’s my mathematical abilities. I don’t desire to sit around crunching numbers all day, but I could handle it being a tiny aspect of the job. Identifying your skills is priority; they will be the aspects of your experience that qualify you for the jobs that are out there.

SECOND…Explore your interests

Your interests pretty much boil down to your likes and dislikes. In conjunction with your skill set, your interests can lead you to a particular field/ industry that you may enjoy working in. The career assessments that can be taken through the UCC such as the Strong-Interest Inventory or Myers- Brigg Type Indicator are great tools to aid you in evaluating things like ideal work environments and preferred work and learning styles. For instance, my mathematical and management skills are fairly strong, but I’ve always had a passion for fashion. After taking the Strong Interest inventory and linking those together, I have decided to pursue a career in fashion buying.

NEXT…Get some help!

There is a career advisor here at the UCC for each major, so just like you have an academic advisor you have a career advisor as well. They can counsel you regarding your career plans and help analyze the results of those assessments mentioned earlier. These guys are truly great at what they do and the service is free. Take advantage of what’s available to you…don’t let this resource go untapped!

FINALLY … Choose already!

Pull it all together!  Your career advisor can point you in the many directions that you can take. Which one will be best for you? IT IS TIME…make that decision!!! Maybe you’re set on medical school but you’re unsure on what to specialize in…that’s ok. You don’t have to have all the answers now and quite frankly you won’t, but any clue to this mystery will help. The final destination may be unknown, but at least with your next step you’re one step closer to figuring it out.

IN THE MEAN TIME…Seek opportunities!

Is there anything you can be doing right now? Graduate school isn’t for another year…Not exactly the time to apply for that job? There is still a present opportunity to work toward your goal. Whether it’s through an internship, enrolling in a career related course, or working a seasonal job-start making it happen today.

Whatever you decide, the key is finding the right balance between what you CAN do and what you would truly LOVE to do. Take the time to implement this plan and watch it work for you. It may be surprising or even exciting to see what opportunities are awaiting you. This is the moment where you take back that confidence of your childhood. What are you waiting for? Pull out your pen- you are the author of your own story – don’t leave it unwritten.

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