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Exploring Careers and Planning for your Future

Beatriz Barros



Choosing a career is one of the most important decisions you need to make in your academic life. Every student in their final years of school spend hours stressing out about what they’re going to do when they leave. And with good reason: Whatever you choose will determine how everyday will look like for the rest of your life. Many people are already born with a drive for a specific career and immediately know that’s what they want to do. Others take more time and carefully review all the possibilities, some even have their entire future planned out for them by their parents. Nevertheless, it is important to choose something you really enjoy doing and are willing to pursue for the next 50 years.


Finding Motivation 

The things you enjoy doing, your hobbies, your values, and the things you stand for are all helpful indicators of what you’d like to work with. Motivation is something that makes you excited to wake up every morning, something that you can talk about for hours without getting bored. However, be careful to not confuse motivation with passion. Many people will tell you to “follow your passion” and although this is true, to some extent, everyone has multiple passions and things that they’re interested in and these things do not always make suitable jobs. 


Of course it’s important to work with something that makes you happy, that gets you eager and excited, but think of how many people you know that followed a career because in the beginning they had the impression that they would love it, and ended up hating it. 


Exploring Possibilities

Once you have an idea of what you like, it's time to explore the possibilities. For example, if you’re interested in sciences your future job can vary from being a teacher, geographer to becoming even a neurosurgeon. The only way to really know if you want to do something is by trying everything out! How can you know that you want to be a lawyer if you’ve never done anything related to law? Things that can help and inspire you are: participating in ECAs, inside and outside school, volunteering, etc. 


You can also get opinions from experts in certain fields. If you’re thinking about a career in business, a good way to start would be by talking to an entrepreneur or someone you know (family or friends) that owns a business of their own. Even talking to your business teacher (if you’re in DP) to get some valuable advice. 


Think about your long-term goals

Making a list of things that you wish to accomplish with your job over the years and/or a list of things that can be considered personal “requirements” for a future job. Here are some ideas of what to include in your list: 

  • Monthly/yearly salary 

  • Leadership positions 

  • Maintaining balance social/work 

  • Career growth 

  • Flexible schedule 

  • Pros and Cons 



Career vs Major

The major you choose to study in college does not necessarily mean that that’s what field you will work in, and vice versa.Think of it this way: You might want to be a doctor, but your major can vary and you can even specialise in a certain field in college. For example, your major can be biology, chemistry, human sciences, neurosciences, biomedical engineering, and amongst other things. However, whichever major you choose you can still become a doctor and do the same things as your friend who majored in physics. It is also possible to switch your major along the way if you don’t enjoy what you’re studying. 



To conclude, choosing your career is a process that takes a lot of time and careful thinking. You can’t decide without exploring all possibilities until you’re sure that’s what you want to do. There is definitely a great deal of pressure and stress involved in this decision. Just keep in mind that what works for some, may not work for all so pick what's best for you. 


Bia, congrats for your article! It is very well structured and it focuses on a topic that is quite relevant to all of us. I am aware that you usually write for entertainment, however this month your article worked better in the academics section. I look forward to seeing your articles here again! :)

Bibliography:


  1. “What Is the Difference between Career and Major?” Italki, www.italki.com/en/post/question-366292. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

  2. ‌“How to Choose a Career: 7 Ways to Narrow Your Options.” Coursera, 1 Dec. 2023, www.coursera.org/articles/how-to-choose-a-career?isNewUser=true. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

  3. “Five-Step Career Decision Making Process.” Office of Career Strategy - Yale University, 11 Dec. 2022, ocs.yale.edu/blog/2022/12/11/explore-five-step-career-decision-making-process/.

Suh, John. Don’t Follow Your Passion in Choosing Your Career - Vunela. www.vunela.com/dont-follow-your-passion-in-choosing-your-career/. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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