It’s summer, school’s out, and you’ve just finished your high school career. What’s next? For a lot of people, college. But before you start looking, there’s someone you need to get to know really well. Yourself.
You are sending you off into the world, and it’s only fair to find out what you want and what your goals are first. Because who you are and what you want to do determines what you should study—which helps determine your school.
This is harder than it sounds. Some of us (myself included) have grown up with a strong idea of who we are and what we want to do when we grow up. But things change, especially people, and we might need to rethink our plan before choosing a college. On the other hand, many students have no clue what they want to do and are overwhelmed by the options.
Whatever your type, before you make a decision that will change the rest of your life—your school, your degree, your career—it’s vital to figure out where you actually thrive.
So here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re scouting for colleges and haven’t settled on a career path yet.
How did you grow up?
Let’s talk about your childhood. Where you’re from and how you grew up is often where you learn your most valuable life skills.
Say your dad was in the army and your family moved a lot. Maybe from this you learned to adapt quickly to different environments and get to know people quickly. Being comfortable in unfamiliar places with strangers is valuable for jobs in marketing, counseling, journalism, and many others.
Try this: Identify what makes your family different from others and trace how those circumstances have impacted your abilities. Things like how many siblings you have and whether you grew up in the city or the country are good places to start.
What do you enjoy?
And I mean really enjoy. What makes you feel useful, fulfilled? What projects or hobbies do you do by default when your schedule lets up? What’s the itch you have to scratch? It could be anything from volunteering for school functions to making movies with your friends to tinkering with computers in the garage.
What comes easily?
Everyone has a skill or task that just comes. Talking to little kids, creating a schedule for your day, building a deck, anything. If you can get something done quickly and efficiently while staying stress-free, there’s a good chance it comes easily to you. If you have no idea what you’re good at, ask someone close to you. Parents, friends, and siblings will know!
What challenges you?
We all have giants to overcome—tasks that are really gnarly. For instance, I have a hard time staying organized. My thoughts and bedroom are both scattered. Because I know organization is not my gift, I can say confidently that a secretarial job would be hard for me.
But hard doesn’t equal failure. For many, the very fact that something does challenge them makes them want to become really good at it. If that’s true of you, you might be a strong problem-solver. But if this isn’t true of you, a challenge would probably cause frustration and annoyance—two things you don’t want as constant companions!
Figure out how you deal with tasks you aren’t naturally good at. How you react to them will help you determine whether or not you should pursue a career that include these challenges.
Find Your Calling can help
Getting to know yourself is tough. You might not get it right the first time, but that’s okay! Plenty of successful people had to fail a few times before they found their calling. Victoria Beckham completely bombed her solo singing career. Now she’s one of the most successful fashion designers in the world. So if something isn’t working out, maybe it’s time to switch things up. Whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel!
Find Your Calling takes you on the first step to getting to know yourself. Take our Discovery Questionnaire and look at the career results. Do some of them match what you’ve always thought about yourself? The answer may be “Absolutely!” If so, that’s great. But if not, that’s great too because it will give you a fresh start. FYC reveals jobs that you never would have imagined for yourself and provides a good kick-start to thinking outside the box.
So go to FindYourCalling.com and hit “Get started.” Let us help introduce you to yourself!
Win scholarships on Find Your Calling through June 26 as we celebrate Graduation Month! Details here. Get career tips and education advice by following Find Your Calling on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.