How to Pick a Career When You Love Them All: Interview With Teresa Maldonado

What do you do when you want to do everything? That’s the question that Teresa Maldonado, winner of a scholarship in Find Your Calling’s 10-week scholarship series, is currently squaring off.

Teresa Maldonado from Salem, Oregon

“I’m fervently interested in too many things that have little or nothing to do with each other,” says the 19-year-old from Salem, Oregon. “Business, hospitality, science, tourism, technology, engineering…” And those are just her top favorites.

Like so many other students, Teresa is in danger of being quartered by her own interests. The Teresas of the world want to explore it all. Boredom their greatest fear, they yearn to soak up every subject around them—if only for a little while— before moving onto the next.

While having multiple fascinations can make career-hunting fun, it can also be paralyzing. They’re passionate about everything, so where should they even start? Teresa didn’t know what college to attend, what to study, or what career to pursue—until she discovered Find Your Calling.

In this interview, Teresa shares how Find Your Calling helped her narrow down her career and college choices and be decisive about the next steps in her bound-to-be-exciting life.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

In second or third grade I learned about the Mesozoic Era, which led to my obsessed-with-dinosaurs phase. I owned dinosaur fossil excavation kits, stuffed dinosaurs, dinosaur movies…. I was determined to become a world-famous archaeologist.

But then I became captivated by aquatic life. I’m profoundly interested in marine biology and watch a wide variety of documentaries. Yet I’m also currently obsessed with the idea of managing my own hotel and resort. You can see my problem!

How did Find Your Calling help you? Were you able to settle on a career? 

wheel of strengths
Find Your Calling measures your strengths and matches them up with careers.

I plan to pursue business for now because I’d like to learn about what it takes to run a company—specifically hotels, resorts, inns, etc.

The best thing about FYC is that it gives so many great career suggestions customized to you and your strengths. It undoubtedly gives the push to jumpstart your future. I’ve been in a bit of funk lately and winning the scholarship has made me do a complete 180, making me significantly more excited about my future.

Did FYC help you find good schools?

Yes! The problem is that there are many colleges I’d be honored to attend but for personal reasons I am unable to move to a different state, so I’ll have to check out colleges closer to home. Luckily, the college section on FYC is extremely beneficial and easy to use. I browsed several different career options and found schools offering courses and degrees in line with those careers.

What are the biggest challenges for students today?

Finding careers they truly enjoy, getting a good education without going into huge debt, and feeling motivated about their future! It’s so vexing to be asked to make such tremendous decisions about careers and future salaries when not too long ago we had to raise our hand and ask permission to use the bathroom. It’s also disheartening when a student doesn’t get the proper encouragement and support to make such choices, which leads to zero motivation to ever do anything consequential.

What’s the biggest obstacle in the way of pursuing your dream career?

Career categories are ranked by how well they match your interests.

Not wanting to leave my family. I know it’ll be immensely difficult to move away—even for a dream career. The second biggest obstacle is the cost of attending a decent school. I’m sure a number of students would agree that the price is overwhelming and completely unfair.

What advice or encouragement would you give other students in a similar boat? 

“Do as I say, not as I do.” I am caught between a rock and a hard place right now (not to make excuses) but I would never stop encouraging someone else to pursue their life goals. Do whatever you have to do to make it all happen. And keep your chin up! It will be alright in the end.

Are you like Teresa, unable to choose a career because you’d love to choose them all? Unable to pick a college because you can’t attend—for one reason or another—any of the schools you’d really like?

Then try what Barbara Sher recommends: Be a deep-sea diver in one area while allowing yourself “hit-and-run obsessions” on the side.

Another solution is to think of your life as a book, and each chapter is a career. Commit to one for a season. You might discover you aren’t that interested after all, or you might enjoy it awhile before moving on to the next. Of course, some careers (astronaut, brain surgeon) demand too much specialized training to make this plan realistic, but plenty of careers are cousins, allowing you to move pretty easily from one to the next.

career matches

The most fascinating guy I know blends these two tactics, turning his medical education and martial arts background into multiple careers and side jaunts that include nurse anesthetist (his main profession), fireman, prison guard, and weapons fighting instructor. This man has capitalized on a few intense skill sets (including a terrifying number of black belts in kung fu, kenpo, and jiu jitsu) and achieved a lot with comparatively little. So can you.

As for finding the right college, your options might truly be limited by personal circumstances like Teresa’s. The answer is to plan the best for you. Find the optimal college given your options, because make no mistake—the right school is waiting for you, and while it might not be your first choice, you’ll realize later that your story could not have gone any other way and it was those very obstacles denying you your favorite school that pushed you towards the one you were meant for.

Everyone has dreams that simply aren’t meant to be. We created Find Your Calling to help you find the ones that are.

So follow Teresa with your chin up. Because she’s right: Do whatever you have to do to make it all happen, and it will be alright in the end.

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