Some have defined the career they want to study and practice practically since they are aware. Unfortunately, this is not everyone’s case. There are also those who find difficult to make that decision.
We already know that choosing a career is a very important decision. It is a decision that will affect the rest of our lives tremendously, so it is quite natural to be afraid of making mistakes. Or maybe we just do not have a clue where to start looking for our vocation. Whether you’re about graduating from high school, or you have not made a decision yet about the profession you want to choose,…
Whatever your case is, next, I present you some information about it and some tips I hope you will find helpful to clarify some of your doubts, and thus make this decision easier for you.
Before we begin, I would like to make it clear that this and all other writings on the web or other information, should be used only as a guide in making your decision. But it is your decision to make. No one else can or should make it instead. It’s your life and your future, it is you who will spend much of his life devoting time and effort to this career, so you’d better choose for yourself.
The choice of a profession is a very personal process, and you are the one who will decide which to follow. Whether you decide to devote yourself to the same profession your parents did, your friends, your idol , toss a coin and leave this to chance… or meditate your options and decide rationally, I share with you my opinion based on my personal experience.
There are a lot of ways we could do this. Given that we must take into account many factors, we must first assess some aspects. For example, what are your likes? What are you good at doing? How do you see yourself in 10 years? Which university should you study at?
I present then the description of each of the points above:
1. What do you like?
Think about your likes, the things you enjoy… these are very important for making your decision, because it is likely you will coexist with that profession you choose the rest of your life. So, in order for you to find it easier and bearable, it should be something you like, you’re interested in, something you enjoy. For example, if you like to help and being surrounded by people, you can choose a career in health sciences, education, law and so on. If you like math and you are a bit of a loner, maybe you’d rather go for engineering, architecture, the sciences,… instead. It all depends on you.
To orient yourself a little more about which career is closer to your interests, you can submit a vocational guidance test. Whether in an institution that offers vocational testing, where you will perform a series of tests to discover your interests and inclinations, or you can take an online test. The latter there are with or without cost. The ones you must pay are more complete and therefore accurate. Those that are free, they are much simpler and therefore inaccurate, although it doesn’t go to waste just trying it out in case you can’t afford paying for a more professional one.
Also, if you already have the University of your choice, it is possible this has vocational guidance tests. You may look for the option to take one on school’s website, or you can also contact a counselor of the admission process for the university and ask if they offer these tests.
Again, if you take one of these, it would be to give yourself a clearer idea of which career is closer to your interests, but it is you who must make the final decision. These tests are helpful for guidance on this, but they can also be wrong. It is most likely, you will realize when you get the results, whether the suggested profession approaches to your interests or not.
Once you know and have present what your likes are and some related careers to choose from, it is time to consider other aspects.
2. What are your skills?
What are you good at doing? What are you good for? Regardless any kind of studies are all tought to prepare you with knowledge, skills and all competences you require to put on practice such studies in the future, you should already have at least foundations. A person’s interests and skills often coincide, but that’s not everyone’s case. There are also people who are good at something they do not like to do. Or otherwise, there are also times when our eyes are on something that we have never been able to try or, maybe although we may have tried this, we are not really good at it. And we still want to make that our profession because we believe that is our vocation.
Based on this, I present the description of the 4 possible scenarios in which you might find yourself:
a) I am passionate and good at it.
If you are a person whose interests and skills match, you have it easy. There is no more to think of about it, this is the path you should follow.
On the other hand, if your passion and abilities differ between them, you should choose a career that fits any of the following 3 cases.
b) I like it but I’m not good at doing it.
If your interests and abilities contradict themselves or they just don’t match, you must evaluate what’s more important to you: devoting your life to what you enjoy or to what you know would be easier for you even if that’a not what you want.
I suggest you that at first instance you just follow your heart, what you are passionate about and what you enjoy the most, what you want for your future. I suggest this, but I should warn you that if you’ve never tried it or you do not know if you’re good at it, it will be very difficult for you to study and then practice a profession in those terms. But difficult is not the same as impossible. As long as you are aware of this, if you decide to dedicate yourself to what you like even if you don’t have many bases on it, you will feel satisfied dedicating yourself to something you enjoy, even when you’re not the best at it.
c) Although I don’t like it, I’m good at it.
It is valid you decide taking the “easy” way and do what you already know, what you know you are good at. Even though, this road eventually becomes the most difficult and heavy one because when you do something you don’t like, it will hardly be pleasant in the long run. Still, it is always possible that eventually you can find a job in which you feel comfortable and stable, and perhaps that is enough for you to be happy. So both paths (b and c) are complicated.
d) I kind of like it and I’m not that bad at doing it.
There is a third option for those who can’t decide between putting first their likes or skills. They can go for a middle ground, which would be dedicating maybe not to what they are very good at or passionate for, but they do like it’s not like they are bad at doing this, either. It is a comfortable and full of possibilities way. You just have to be willing to sacrifice your current passion and what you are good at doing.
These are the 4 scenarios in which possibly encounter. While at first we might call “ideal” perhaps, just as it happened to me, it ‘s not your case, and you have to choose which of the other 3 you think it’d be better to follow. It is up to you choosing which to take. Which one do you prefer?
3. ¿How do you picture yourself in the future?
Choose a profession that fits the vision you have of yourself in the future. What do I mean with this? I mean everyone at a time or another have had some vision, at least a small and distant one, about the way we’d wish our lives in the future were. Whether you’d like to have a quiet life, a home of yours, your own car, family,… or you’d prefer to see yourself in the future as an rich and successful bachelor, with many friends and an apartment in a foreign city, the resources to travel…
Perhaps your expectations are not as specific as the examples above, or perhaps they go even further. Anyway, we all have dreams and expectations about our future that we wish they’ll hopefully come true. By choosing our profession, we have the opportunity to take a decision that will get us closer to our desired “future”, or this could also get us away from it.
Let’s use the example of the person who wants a quiet life. This person, in order to reach its expected life, should choose a career related to it. Let’s say that could be as a teacher if it seems good to him or her, or it could be an accountant, computer specialist, research scientist, etcetera. Depending also on your likes and skills, such as I mentioned earlier. On the other hand, using the example of the successful bachelor, you could choose a career as public relations, legal counsel, medical, etc. The above are only examples. There may be a lot of variants as we have seen.
Based on the questions above, you may be put off only by what you like, or what you are good at… but ideally it’s needed a balance among all this. So, I suggest you do not choose something that you just like, but also you do well, and that it fits the vision you have of yourself in the future. I suggest you look for a balance among the above aspects to make your decision the most conscious possible way.
4. ¿How to choose a University?
I suggest that in addition to the previous recommendations, you take into account your budget for the university offering the career of your choice.
I consider this last point important, although not as much as others, given that this will help you to choose the university where you will study, but I say it does not have to be taken as important as other aspects because, currently, there are many ways to finance your studies; through loans, credits, … Although in my personal opinion, if that’s an option for you, it’s always better only using the money you have available to spend, nothing more.
If possible that you get some financial support as partial or full scholarship, take it! If not, consider that sooner or later you’ll pay the loans and credits, and that as optimistic as you can be about your own future economic status, you do not know anything for sure.
So consider your cheap possibilities when choosing University for your studies at superior level, but do not let this aspect limits your choice of an institution if you really want one. And choose carefully because when looking for employment, the name and fame of the University you’ll have studied in will most probably be taken into account. On the other hand, don’t let this pressure you to the point of choosing a higher education institute which cost goes beyond what you should afford yourself paying for it.
Of course, there are many other aspects to consider when you select a university: it offers the career of your choice which curriculum you like, location, trained teachers, it has official studies validation, facilities and services you need…
All this is vital for making your decision. Do not rush to do so. It is preferable that you take a few extra months to make sure what it is you really want to do rather than you rushing to make a decision and then you regret it. Of course, if then you regret the decision you made, it is always valid changing your mind and switching course.
As final words…
I’ll share with you a strategy that helped me a lot to choose my profession: discarding options. I’m not saying that you should use specifically this one, perhaps it can work better for you to use some other way. But this one was what helped me more than anything else. I’ll tell you how I did it.
First of all, I wanted to be sure to choose the best profession for me, so I wrote a long list of careers that called my attention, either because they seemed interesting, I had heard that they were well paid, or whatever. The list contained all the careers that I thought were cool. Then thoroughly I researched about each of them: what they were about, entry and exit profile, a few curricula of each one in different universities which I liked, job opportunities, average income perception for each profession, and other things that I was interested in knowing about these careers. After that, I only had left a few careers to choose from.
Then, by comparing them, I discarded one by one those that I wasn’t convinced about, either because I did not like them that much, or because realistically thinking, I knew that I was not I wasn’t very well at doing that, or because it was not according with my vision of my future life… and I was with some few careers in the now short list, so I went to investigate, now on universities offering these courses in order to select a career that convinced me in all aspects: it was to my liking, according to my abilities, that brings me to my expectations of life I want to have a future, and that it was given in a school where I wanted to study.
And it worked. Finally I was left with the career of my choice, and I’m satisfied with how things have turned out.
Just as I mentioned earlier, choosing a career is a very important decision because it is a decision that will affect the rest of our lives tremendously. The selection process of your profession is very personal and only you are going to decide which one to use. Over time you will discover which works better for you.
Remember it’s your decision. No one else can or should take it in your place. It’s your life and your future. If you still do not know which way to choose, do not despair, do not pressure yourself. There will come a time when everything is clearer and then you’ll know what you want to do with your life. I hope the information I have shared with you helps you. And I wish you luck in this quest for your vocation.