Most successful people will tell you they got to where they are by hard work, long nights, and loving what they do. I’ve found that the millennial generation more than any other is not only following their own path but paving the way for others as well. Is “following your passion” a bad career advice? As it turns out, most people think following your passion is the way to go, and so do I.
College is usually the place where interests are discovered, nurtured, and pursued, but if you haven’t found your passion yet or you feel passionate about many different things, here are a few ways to help you establish a more focused career direction.
Deciding on a major
Whether you’re deciding on your major or have already chosen it, hopefully you’ve found a subject or particular field or a thought that you enjoy. Otherwise, imagine how hard it will be to wake up at 8 a.m. for your Sales Management class when you dread the thought of selling something. You’ll lose your breakfast and your grade in one fell swoop.
You also shouldn’t let your parents or peers influence this decision. Picking a major is a big deal and one that YOU will have to live with for the next few years or may be entire life. I know it’s hard to go against your parents’ wishes. I remember the disappointed look on my mom’s face when I told her law school wasn’t in my future, but she got over it. There comes a point when you need to do what’s best for you and there’s no better time than college to explore that independence. In the long run, your parents will understand and you’ll be a much happier person.
An internship during college is a great way to explore different career paths. I believe, internships should be an experiment with one’s career. More colleges are now requiring students to take an internship in order to fulfill a graduation requirement, but don’t feel like you need to stop at just one. Look for some, while you are attending your classes.
Look at an internship as an opportunity to understand your likes and dislikes of the field you’re interning in and the job you’re doing. That way, if you’re unhappy with your internship, you’ll know not to make the same mistake again. Instead, you’ll choose an environment that works better for you the next time around.
Find a mentor
Do you have a professor you find intriguing? One that talks about a subject with such enjoyment and passion that you find yourself riveted in the material every class? This means you not only like the teacher but you probably like the subject too. Talk to this professor. Express your interest in learning more and ask if he / she can be your mentor. Professors are usually thrilled to help.
If you don’t come across a professor you like, try asking an older friend or classmate who is more knowledgeable in the subject you’re interested in pursuing. For a home cooked meal or bottle of wine, they will be happy to provide you with a little more direction and insight. Maybe even teach you a few vital skills.
Ask your peers what they think you’re good at
Sometimes we aren’t able see the good that other people see in us. If you need some help finding direction, ask your friends and family what they think your best skills and traits are. For years, I’ve been telling my friend how great she is at winning arguments and digging up answers to tough questions. Our friends would tease her and say how much they’d never want to go up against her in court. Now she’s set to go to law school. 🙂
What’s your passion? Tell us the story of how you discovered it!