Ok. I'm 21 years old. All my life I have loved art and being creative, I've recently earned my Assoc. in Visual Communications which is an art degree. However, I studied culinary arts in high school and I really loved it (and I still cook often) and I've considered pursuing a degree in that field possibly more towards Pastry arts, but since I was little I wanted to work with animals. I also love music and I wouldn't mind doing something within that career also. I am so conflicted right now that I am physically stuck. I don't know what to do. HELP!? Opinions please.
I think out the question. I write down the different options/choices. On the left I would list all of the pros and cons: such as what would I receive from each; can I make a career of it; do I like/love it; etc.
After I write everything down then I would go across each row to give them check marks (do they have/not have it). Then I would go down each column to see which column had the most and put a total of the check marks at the bottom.
If after doing that I was still drawn towards something in particular then I would know by instinct that this was it.
To be fair, everyone has a lot of interests, but they do not pursue them as a career. At 21, you can try a lot of things and change your mind frequently. If you could only pick one and encompass some of your other interests, which one would it be? I spent 30 years i business and found industries, I liked and (executive) roles I enjoyed. For the last 13 years, I have been teaching and thoroughly enjoy my new role. Over my career, I had about 7 careers which encompassed my interests, skills and experience. I will retire (again) in 2-3 years and expect to keep pursuing my various interests even in retirement.
Which one do you think about first when you wake up in the morning? Which one do you see yourself doing for the next five to ten years?
I had gone to see my doctor because I was having anxiety attacks and we got to talking about what it was that I really should be doing. He said to me, that thing that you think about first thing in the morning is what you should be doing. The thing that's on your mind as you fall asleep is what you should be doing.
I too had a lot of interests, I still do. However, I filtered through them all and realize there was one that was more prominent on my mind than the others. I love to cook, making jewelry, teaching and martial arts but writing is my first love. The anxiety attacks stopped when I dedicated my time to my true love.
Also, there is no rule that says you can't do more than one. In terms of your degree, make sure it's what you really want to be qualified in.
That's a lot of interests you have. I'd write them all out and compare the good and the bad. In big decisions like this, that's what I always do.
I'd just go ahead and pick something to try it on and see if it fits. Don't spend too much money obtaining it - you can always do that later once you have made up your mind it is the "one" and you have already enjoyed some success in the field by having a job, or practicing it for awhile first (yes, I have some expensive dud university courses like lots of others). Most of the time you can enter industries through back doors, do volunteer and entry level jobs to get experience and save yourself the money until you need that course. I haven't known what I wanted to do, so I tried lots of things and worked out which ones to cross off my list and settled with the occupation which seemed best suited. It helps to make you a well rounded person by trying more than one thing in life.
You do not have to give up any of your interests, but you do have to choose the one among them that will provide you joy in your work and a way to make a livable income. You should also remember that whichever one you choose to follow as a career is the same one you may be doing when you are older and possibly not as healthy...so include in your choices occupations you can do when you are old as well as when you are young.
I have had some many different career endeavours and different interests before I found out what I would actually like. My interest still continue to change even this day. I would love to tell you to do as your heart desires but in real life that may not be practical. What I will tell you to do is "remember that your head is above your heart"or in other words think things through before you invest your time effort and finances into something you later find out was a waste of time. I would suggest taking small classes or volunteering for different organizations to find out if its something you want to do every day of your life. It is ok to be passionate about more than one thing but don't let fear of the unknown paralyse you either. Life experience is the only real way to figure out what you really love.
The first thing I wondered when you said you recently earned an Associates was whether you felt you were in the right program during your coursework. Did you feel tugged in any of those other directions as you saw course offerings outside of your major, or heard people talk about majoring in any of those other fields?
I began my undergrad degree at a school without a wildlife program. I thought I could make due because my scholarship was there. I majored in zoology and worked through the first two years of studies always feeling like I wasn't quite piecing it together the way I wanted. I even considered geology briefly, but found myself identifying birds and tracks on even the most engaging geology field trips. Eventually, I found a way to use my scholarship toward an exchange to university with a wildlife program because that was where my gut was telling me I needed to redirect.
If you didn't feel tugged in different directions while you studied visual arts (and generally felt that you were in the right place), is it possible that the uncertainty of taking the next steps of education or career are making you more nervous about your chosen direction?
It is very possibly that the diversity of you interests shows you picked the right path, since your skill set in the arts can be applied to just about everything you mentioned in one way or another.
You current degree may not get you a paying wildlife job right away, as an example, but conservation groups and even federal agencies that conserve wildlife rely quite a bit on clear communication skills and even social media to promote and facilitate their programs.
It is likely than any steps forward in any of those directions will either show you that you're on the right path or steer you on the right one.
It's exciting and amazing how things come together over time to get you where you need to be. It's nerve wracking while you're in it, until you're settled enough some day to look back and cherish those early steps.
Thank you everyone. Your advice has been very insightful and helpful. I have a lot of brainstorming to do.
Hi Niya0413, With all this great advice you've already been given, I just want to wish you the very best. Many of us your age and much older can feel torn with our abundance of interests but it will all fall into place as you move along your path. Congrats on achieving your Associates and good luck with everything!!
Thank you Cardisa and Dustin, your thoughts are very much appreciated. And thank you Journey for the well wishes.
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