The decision on what to study at the university level is not always an easy one. Some people know from day one exactly what they want to spend the rest of their life doing. However, that is not the case for most people, myself included.
I struggled to decide what I wanted to study at the university, much more what I want to do for the rest of my life. However, there were some key steps I took to help me make some of those decisions. In this article, I will explain those steps, and hopefully, give you more clarity on how to make those decisions for yourself.
This is possibly the most important thing to keep in mind when deciding what path you want your life to take. It does not matter what skills and qualifications you have if they are not being directed somewhere, or at least have the potential to help you achieve a goal.
The goal does not have to be huge and detailed, it can be as basic as saving “x” amount of money, or getting into “x” university. Having a goal enables you to have a plan, and getting started with smaller objectives can really help direct you to larger ones, which can mean deciding a career path.
We all have different goals and aspirations and as such, value different things. As an individual, it is important to determine what you value more in life. Would you rather work for somebody else, or work for yourself? Is it more important to you that you are passionate about what you are doing, or that you make money doing it? What trade-offs are you willing to make to achieve your ultimate goal?
Understand that passions do not always equal careers
This is a very key step because it can be especially difficult if you are similar to me, and have very many things that you are interested in. It is easy to get caught up in the idea that “your work should not feel like work,” but not everything you are passionate about can sustain you. It is possible to have a passion that can sustain your lifestyle, but you should also be prepared if that is not the case.
This refers back to the earlier point about priorities and deciding whether you would value money over that passion if you had to choose. It is just important to keep this all in mind when you are trying to make these decisions.
Remember that you don’t have to be permanent
This is possibly the most important thing to remember at the end of the day. You can plan all you want, and have the clearest vision, but life has a way of throwing plans out of the window. On one hand, this can be scary, but on the other hand, it is a reminder that you are able to change your mind. You can study one thing in university, and have a completely different career afterwards. You can decide to completely switch careers at any point in time. You have the ability to change.
Oluwasiji Soetan is an incoming freshman at Brown University, Rhode Island, United States. There, he will be studying Economics and undertaking a concentration in Data Science.