General Question

GreenFinch_YellowCanary's avatar

How am I suppose to decide on an education that will shape my future?

Asked by GreenFinch_YellowCanary (141points) February 12th, 2010

I am only eighteen years old and at the beginning stages of my life. I have finally reached the college level and it is now time to settle down and figure out what it is I am meant to do in life.

So I ask: What is my purpose? What will I be good at? What will make me happy?

I do not want to pick a job in which I am unsatisfied later down the road and so I need to decide what I want to major in so that I can figure out what classes I am suppose to make.

How do I discover that thing? That thing that I am suppose to do when I’m older. My future is coming closure and I do not want to be left in the dust. How do I find what is good for me?

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21 Answers

James_Mal's avatar

You discover it by experiencing as many things as possible. Since much of the first two years of college is spent taking down prerequisite classes, you have a good deal of time to really decide. A lot of people do not know their direction for quite some time!

marinelife's avatar

Well, first start with where you have aptitude and what you like to do.

Do you like math and science? (computer engineering; accounting)

Do you like putting things together? (engineer)

Do you like working with people? (teaching; social work)

Let us know what you like to do and what you are good at and we can help you better.

KhiaKarma's avatar

It’s a process—- just find something that you’re interested in….get the paper (diploma) then take it from there. The options are endless. Good Luck, and remember to enjoy the ride!

James_Mal's avatar

Good luck though, I genuinely hope you find something!

phil196662's avatar

I would begin with skills that are practical that when thing don’t go right you have them as back up.

Then you go for the things you have always loved to do…

favorites would be sewing , gardening , cooking .

back up could be _ work at starbucks and get certified as a barista_ you can work all over the country with that! Study a second language and work as a travel agent!

GreenFinch_YellowCanary's avatar

I am at a fantastic school and do not wish to leave, but it is a private school and thus extremely expensive. Currently I am enrolled as a ‘Double Degree Student’ in which I receive a BA and a BM. All of my scholarship money is coming from the Conservatory, hence why I am in the Bachelor of Music but ultimately I know that is not a career I wish to pursue because it is unstable (similar to acting).

Frankly I do not know exactly what I like because my entire school life I based all of my classes off of requirements and never took an elective class. I have only ever done math, science, english, history and music and I am not sure what it is I like.

However, what I do know is this: I love to read. I love to imagine things and occasionally write little short stories. But that wont get me anywhere. In this day and age money is everything and I fear more than anything else that I will wind up somewhere small and dingy, digging around for any sort of money. I want to be stable, I want a good place to live and I do not want to have to worry about how I am going to pay the monthly bills. I want a good job.

For a time I thought I wanted to become a doctor, then I thought a music therapist and then a criminal psychologist. But the more I dwell on them, the more I research the more I realize I really don’t know what is best suited for me. How do I know I’m just not nervous about beginning my life? How do I know if I’m actually running away from something I am meant to do?

That is the bad thing about high school and entering college – you have no idea what you are getting yourself into. You have dreams and aspirations but you have know idea what it has in store for you and if you will enjoy at all!

phil196662's avatar

@GreenFinch_YellowCanary ; Creative writing… poetry. your into musice so that helps with song writing! Do you read music?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This is the way it works: 85% of college students change their major by the end of the second year. The people you know in high school who are so certain about what they’re going to be, probably will end up being something else. You get a degree, you graduate, and you end up doing what you’re hired to do.

And that’s okay.

You go to school because if you sit still, the scenery never changes. Every journey begins with the first step; so start walking. Life’s about the journey, and not the destination.

jrpowell's avatar

I started college for accounting. That lasted about three months. Accounting is a bag of hurt. I switched to Economics and got a degree in that. The first couple years are basic gen ed stuff. You don’t need to decide right away.

KhiaKarma's avatar

The fear that you mentioned (nervous about beginning your life) is one of my worst enemies and learning to channel that throughout my professional life toward making positive changes has been challenging, but rewarding. If things were easy we would not feel the same sence of accomplishment afterwards…. Just remember that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

Sarcasm's avatar

Your college should offer a “Major search” and/or “Career search” class (My college did, at least). They’re definitely worth checking out. Even if they don’t completely answer the question of “what do I do?” it will narrow down the search for you, and give you some tools to help push you the rest of the way.

lilikoi's avatar


It is time to do some research.

I recommend starting with two books (I have the same problem at 24 and have found both useful):

The Pathfinder by Nicolas Lore

(he has another version of this book written for people under 30 which may be easier reading)

and Do What You Are by Barbara Baron (sp?)

The first one explains why personality “typing” is only one piece of the puzzle in choosing a career, and it helps you work through all the pieces in making a decision. The second one is all about personality types. It also contains extensive lists of careers that each type may prefer. Both should be available at the local library (at least they are at mine).

There are other possibilities beyond what is listed. The key is to understand why the listed careers are a good match for your type, then you can apply this reasoning to other careers that may require similar skills or match your preferences.

If you can get good scholarships to pay for university, do it. There is more free money for the taking for high school seniors than any other group, so take advantage if you can. If not, and you’re not sure about careers, consider taking some time to get to know yourself better (I find that I know myself much better now than when I was leaving high school), explore different career options by interning or taking odd jobs to gain exposure to an industry, maybe take some general courses at a community college. Once you figure it out, then go for it. If you’re uncertain about your future while enrolled at a 4-year university you are just wasting money – not bad if it is someone else’s not so fun if it is yours.

My final piece of advice is don’t forget about work environment. If you hate being indoors now, chances are you’ll hate being indoors ten years from now and you’ll hate having a desk job in an office.

If you have other specific questions, feel free to PM me. I have just spent the last several months thinking about careers and exploring my options so all this stuff is fresh in my mind.

lilikoi's avatar

@GreenFinch_YellowCanary I just read your follow up post.

I think you need to think about your values, aspirations, goals, needs, etc. Again, The Pathfinder book is great at helping you do this.

Is it more important that you have a stable job with a stable income or are you willing to take the chance with music because it is something you are very passionate about?

It is not impossible to make a living off of music. It is also not impossible to make a living as a writer.

If you value creativity and the creative process, I would think long and hard before committing to medical school or becoming a psychologist.

The only way to figure out what you like and don’t like is to try different things. If you can afford to, take classes that interest you, take up different hobbies, and see where it leads. If money is a limitation, try to find odd jobs in industries that interest you and observe or ask tons of questions.

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to have one job. Your “career” could be doing a number of things part-time.

wundayatta's avatar

Get educated first. Learn how to make a career of it later. Oops, I should mention that between education and career are often a lot of jobs.

You can do worse than creative writing. Just so you know, corporations are looking for liberal arts types (i.e. English majors), because they are flexible and creative.

If you’re going to a private school, you probably already have a good preparation for liberal arts. I.e., you know how to learn. That’s the most important thing to learn—how to learn. All else is just subject matter. Put in the time, and you’ll acquire it.

Don’t worry about what your major will be. It’s not nearly as important as you think it is. Nobody even asks about it afterwards except friends or people who are making conversation. Ok, not nobody, but far fewer employers are interested in it than you might think. Employers don’t care all that much until they need someone with an advanced degree. Those actually mean something important.

What you should be doing now is learning the best study and reading skills you can. Even more important is time management. If you have that down, you’ll be able to do whatever you want at and time you want.

evandad's avatar

Take what interests you. The rest works itself out.

bean's avatar

make sure whatever field you choose you enjoy it (your passionate about it) I’m 19 and also starting university, I’m passionate about science… if your not passionate about what you are going to do for the rest of your life you will regret it someday.

If your passionate about it your going to be constantly interested and learning, if you have any other subjects you are naturally good at and find easy to understand then definitely keep working on those subjects too because it can also come in handy in the subject you choose as a career.

babaji's avatar

you have this feeling inside that makes you feel all warm and happy?
follow your bliss.
and you have this intuitive knowing in your heart that you can tell and feel when something feels right?
So eat up this life and it’s experiences, experience it and investigate…..
you totally have a major specific calling for this life, and when you see it, you will know it.
You have the power of the Universe within you and you are the captain of your own ship, where you can chart whatever course you choose.
Best of Luck

Jeruba's avatar

Study what you love.

If you don’t have a clear vocation (calling), a drive toward a certain profession or art, choose a field of concentration that stimulates and excites you. You will learn the most if you love what you are doing.

Many or most people do not end up working in the field they majored in. The job you end up in may not even exist right now. You may not yet know exactly what doors you wish to open. So the main thing is not to close off your options but to keep them as open as possible until your direction becomes more clear.

bean's avatar

My passion – it makes me crazy, i can’t get enough of it, I am constantly interested and entertained learning about it… It feels me and satisfies what my life needs

whatever subject makes you feel like that you go for it, and keep up other subjects that you work well in!

my passion is science but I have learned 3 other languages which is just beneficial and widens my skills, so learn as much as you can!

good luck!

Cruiser's avatar

If you are not passionate enough about something at this stage you should just get the sheepskin first worry about career later. You have 4 years to decide and a lot will change for you in that time. In the meantime test the waters in things you are interested in and when you feel the desire focus you school program to fit that desire.

LuvToRite's avatar

I think you should spend a couple of months just thinking and doing reasearch. Im 15 and I have done that already so I wont have to go through the stress later on. For example I have realized that my full passion is writing, singing, teaching, baking, and herbs. I decided to chose 2 that were best for me. Singing, baking, and planting herbs will be my hobby. I am planning to be a writer and a Performing Arts teacher. You should bend out your thoughts like that.

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