As kids, we were always asked about what we wanted to be when we grow up. Back then, the most logical course of action was grow up, go to university/college and study, then work. But then as we grew up, we started realizing there are majors and minors and countless fields of study to choose from. Things got way too complicated, way too fast. All these options are at once a curse and a blessing. It is difficult to navigate so many choices. But at least, now, we know that there’s no need to be constrained by one academic field or career. From chance to encounters to family challenges to a random course that sparked a lifetime passion, so many factors influence our eventual choices. Let’s explore five unavoidable factors that are likely to have a remarkable influence on your career path.
The Period Spent in College
The tricky thing about college is that, on one hand, you have to choose a specific course of study that can sometimes dictate your entire future. On the other hand, it is also a time of self-exploration. Taking such a big decision while not having a firm grip over your identity cannot be easy. The good news is that nowadays it has become extremely common for graduates to choose a course of work different from what they’ve studied. The change of heart often comes after realizing that a major doesn’t suit your identities. Or more simply, you simply don’t enjoy it. Look to some of the other classes you took, the clubs you joined. What else did you learn you really liked to do.
Economic and Social Conditions
During such a critical period in life, anything could happen. Of course, we’re talking socially or economically. You could get into a serious relationship, become the main provider for your family. Like many of those who pursue higher education, you or a friend could develop an anxiety disorder. As situations of this nature arise, they usually push graduates to explore new career ideas as a means of adapting to life. Some start looking for jobs that pay extremely well. while others may focus on jobs with flexible hours. Many will spend the first couple of years trying out different jobs with different requirements until they find the right fit.
Expectations Vs. Reality
While there is quite an extensive amount of research that goes into choosing a field of study, at the end of the day it is often still a blind bet. Before going to college, it’s easy to look at the job you want from the outside and admire it. However, over the course of their study, students get more and more acquainted with what it takes, mentally, emotionally and academically to be successful in their particular field. This often results in a lot of people changing their minds after graduating. That’s common and normal. The sooner a person realizes that the job they thought they wanted wasn’t actually made for them, the better.
As we’ve mentioned, people go through intense changes in personalities during college years. James Franco, for example, dropped out of UCLA to focus on acting. And as for Rowan Atkinson, known for playing the beloved Mr. Bean, he discovered his passion for acting while working for a master’s degree in electrical engineering. The point is, personal interests often change during those years. For some, it is as minor as developing a passion for something and incorporating that within their area of study, like environmental lawyers. And for others, it is so drastic it takes them in a whole different direction.
Life is unpredictable. Every situation that happens, good or bad, is just a simple confirmation that you can’t really foresee what will happen or control the future. In today’s fast changing world, no one should assume that a career path will stay unchanged. There are countless stories about graduates who were presented out of the blue with opportunities that took them off their planned career paths and into a totally different trail. Some will hear a call to serve in the military. Others might get offered highly unusual jobs after answering a chance job posting. A few may find their calling when presented with an opportunity to volunteer abroad. The scenarios are endless and you must remember from the start that there is no telling where the journey through college will take you.
To summarize, the central lesson we hope you’ve taken out of this article is that life is full of changes. Just because you’ve chosen a specific course of study, doesn’t mean you have to stick to it. Likewise, just because your social situation has changed doesn’t mean your options and potential have diminished. It’s all about how you choose to adapt to your surroundings. Always keep in mind that the world is ever so large and wide, there is a career path out there that suits your wants and needs.