While you are still in school, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate yourself in preparation for your future career. You have a major, sure, but any given field has many potential interests within it—do you want to become a teacher in your field? Start a business? Join an established company? Having your degree is one thing, but knowing where your talents lie is another.
Some questions for self-reflection:
Q. What have you always done?
Think back to child hood. What did you do a lot as a child? What did other people regard you as? Did they see you as a leader, or a quiet type? Knowing what your natural inclinations are is often an extension of your choices as a child.
Q. What do you really enjoy?
If you choose a path where you won’t be truly happy, you’re in for years of misery. Make sure your path is one that will satisfy you. Say you’re an art major. Don’t become an art teacher unless you like kids. Don’t go it alone unless you like isolation. Whether you’re better as a solo artist or a graphic designer in an office somewhere will depend on you, and you should make the choice that will make you happier.
Q. When are you at your best?
How have you faced adversity and overcome it? In what circumstances do you thrive? For example, some people go to nursing school and end up in a busy emergency room, while others opt for a quieter family medical practice. Still others find work in nursing homes, or highly technical environments. Be aware of when you really shine to find the best place to go in the future.
Q. What do others tell you?
What do your co-workers, professors and friends say? Do they think you’d be a good fit for a particular field? Your professors may have been around for years and seen thousands of students come and go—they should have a pretty good idea of how students like you can be most successful.
Q. What are you curious about?
Is there a hobby or activity you’ve always wanted to try? A class you wanted to take? If specific new experiences are interesting to you, then you should give them a chance and see if they become particularly meaningful.
Q. Whom do you admire?
Is there someone in your life who inspires you? Think about the qualities and actions that cause you to feel that way. Are there any lessons you can draw from this evaluation that will help you know your own path?
Now is the time to circle in on what is special about you, and what you should really be doing. Don’t feel bound by your degree. Simply having a diploma gives you a good start and is a signal that you are able to finish what you start and achieve goals, so many employers don’t look closely at the subject your degree is in. If you feel like you have no direction at all, talk to your school’s counseling department and ask about career counseling.