“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
– Maya Angelou
According to a Forbes article, 52.3% of all Americans are unhappy at work. And why is this? Why is it that we spend countless hours, energy, and money on going to school to obtain a degree that will hopefully land us a great job making great money, only to find that we dread going to work each day? The answer is passion. Without passion, there is no motivation to excel at any one task. Without passion, we are relying on what’s out of our control to make us successful – and therefore, happy.
Too often, we avoid chasing after our dreams and turning our passions into full-time opportunities out of fear. Fear of what? Fear of failure. Fear of not making enough money. Fear of ridicule from our support systems. When we chase after what we love, we are risking having our hearts broken. On the other hand, we will never be able to experience rewards without risk.
While some of us are avoiding risks, others are simply trying to find what they love to do. This is a quest that we all need to be on… yet we may never completely finish. Vocations we enjoy in our twenties may not hold true decades later. Taking all these factors into consideration, it’s difficult to know where we should begin.
First, we must ask ourselves one of the most fundamental questions – what do we want to see ourselves doing in the next five years? But even better, what do we want to learn in the next five years? Now is the time to follow our most pressing curiosities. By connecting to our own unique interests and coming into our own authentic selves, we are gaining power in our chosen disciplines that others can’t claim.
Avoid focusing on titles and eliminate money from the equation. Take it from someone who has changed their major six different times (yes, I said six!). While a profession sounds nice, it may not be our true calling, and we may not even be remotely talented in that field. For example, becoming a physician may result in a nice paycheck and respect from our peers. Yet if the sight of blood or any other bodily fluid causes your stomach to turn, it’s probably not the right profession for you. Instead, think of the kind of lifestyle that you want to lead. Questions such as whether you want to work in a cubicle and commute each day to work may seem insignificant, but they will help you decide what kind of job you should seek.
Job shadowing is also another really great way to learn more about a particular field of interest. In our current economy, the job market is more competitive than ever. Reaching out to other professionals that interest you can help you learn valuable lessons and explore the field. In addition, it’s a great way to expand your network and cultivate confidence that you are on the track to your ideal career.
Lastly, as a student, there are several resources available for you on campus. Check out Career Services and ask to speak to an on-site counselor or take a personality test to see what professions might fit you best. Check out the University Course Catalog and explore classes offered on campus which interest you. Set up an appointment with an advisor and discuss your options with them. The sooner you decide on what you want to do, or rather what you love to do, the sooner you can pick the right major and be on your way to achieving great things!