Why It Matters: Career Exploration
Your decision to be in college is likely related to a career in one way or another. So how do you move from college to a career? What kind of self-examination may be needed? Will you explore a range of classes and experiences? Finding a good mentor can help.
Think back to the time when you first began to contemplate college. Do you remember any specific thoughts? Were you excited about the idea? What began to draw you into the web of college life? What compels you to be here now? Your decision to come to college was likely related to your career in one way or another. You may have come to college to gain knowledge or training that will help you in your prospective career. You may have come to college to figure out what you want your career to be.
So how to do you go from college to a career? Here are some basic steps.
- Self-Examination. Take the time to look critically at yourself – your hobbies and skills. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What jobs can these apply to?
- Explore. If you don’t know what you want to do, take the time to instead explore your options. If you can, take introductory classes – these types of classes often give a broad introduction to fields of study. If that is not an option, you can also talk to an academic counselor about your different options. There are also a vast number of personality and job aptitude tests available.
- Find a Mentor. Find someone who is already established in their career (whether they work in your field or not). Having a mentor who has already established themselves can be extremely helpful – especially when you come up against setbacks. They have likely faced similar situations, and can give you the perspective and advice you need. These types of mentors can be a parent, a teacher, a neighbor, or a school counselor.
- Find experiences. Try it out. You may think you want to do something, but you find you cannot actually stand doing it once you get into a work setting.
It is important to note that these steps do not always happen in this order, and sometimes you may find yourself suddenly back at step one – examining yourself all over again to figure out what you want to do. Making your way into a career is not necessarily going to be a linear path, and that is ok, in fact, it is pretty normal. As you learn and grow, your interests, passions, and skills will evolve with you.
In this topic on career and college readiness, we examine key connections between your motivations to be in college and your ultimate success in achieving your goals. We also examine how your college experience prepares you for a specific career, as well as for attaining general skills that you can apply to multiple pursuits.
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