Last updated on June 26th, 2021 at 10:21 am
I was talking to my aunt on the phone recently and she was talking about how her son, who is also my cousin, is worried about his career path for the future. We can get excited on our first day of work but what if you’re stuck and don’t even know what direction to go? My cousin is kinda in that situation. Right now, he’s still in college but he’s already starting to feel pressure about picking the ‘right’ career path. The conversation with my aunt inspired me to write a post about this topic because it’s something I can relate to. I’m sure a lot of people can as well.
It All Starts in High School
In high school, especially in Grade 11 and 12, people start to always ask what you want to major in college. Those were the times where you have to seriously consider your future. In the past, you might have an excuse saying you have time but as you’re getting to apply to go to university, it’s no longer something you can put off. You can’t keep procrastinating because there is now a clear deadline.
There are the few lucky ones that have always known what they wanted to do since they were in elementary school but for the majority, we’re usually figuring it out as we go. During that time, I remember being often confused and unsure. I mean, there are so many options out there so how do you know you’re picking the right one? How do you know that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life? It took a while to tentatively pick a major and even that was unsettling.
I dreaded talking about my future because it was a huge question mark yet it felt like every single person kept asking me about my plans. I was already giving myself a lot of pressure internally. Then there’s all this pressure from the outside world. I felt like I was going to burst. So when people asked, I would try to either subtly change the topic or tell them I still need time to think things through. The thing is, this topic continues to come up no matter what I say. They wouldn’t get off my back.
Current Me Looking Back In the Past
Hearing my aunt talk about my cousin brings me back to those times. He is starting his first internship and is upset that it’s not related to his major. At this time, he is thankful that he even has an internship. However, it wasn’t what he had imagined for himself so it’s still disappointing.
I get it. Sure, you might have worked in high school but the first internship in college feels different. You feel like a real adult and it starts to hit you. For my first internship, I applied to a bunch of companies. At first, I was excited. I remember thinking, ‘okay this is it. This is my first step in my career path and I’m going to have a bright future ahead of me.’
It’s important to have an idea of what you want to do in the future because there are too many options out there. You have to narrow it down to several industries. Do some Google research on industries that interest you. What are your hobbies? What if you can turn that into your career? If you don’t know what you want to do, eliminate positions and industries you don’t want to do. The process of elimination is another way of getting closer to know what you want.
What I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Younger
I hate to be the one to say it but it’s likely that your first internship won’t be amazing. The first internship will be memorable because it’s your first but if it’s not ideal, it’s okay! It’s natural to have high expectations because it’s one step closer to becoming an adult stepping into society. Remember that just because this opportunity isn’t what you envisioned for yourself doesn’t mean your time won’t come. You are still young.
Your first internship sets up the path to what you want to do next but it’s not end all, be all. You can always change your path in the future. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you miss out on other opportunities. If life’s that predictable, won’t it be boring? What’s the point then? It’s all the surprises and obstacles that make your life interesting and worth living.
Be flexible. The takeaway I got from this experience and what my cousin is experiencing right now is to have a good idea about where you want to do but don’t be so stubborn that you miss out on opportunities. You never know where it will take you. It only takes ONE opportunity to potentially change your life. Whatever opportunity you pick, try your best so you have no regrets in the future.
Know what direction you want to go in for your career but worried about job interviews? Don’t make these mistakes that are costing you the job offer.
Share in the comments below about your job/career related experiences. I would love to hear more about them!