How to Narrow Down Your Career Options

How to Narrow Down Your Career Options
Posted on 08/15/2018 . 10:00am
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One day you want to become the next president of United States of America, the next you want to become a firefighter. If that does not suit you, a month from now you want to become the next Bill Gates. Sound familiar? Trust me, I have been there – plenty of times.

Growing up, I wanted to become a number of things; a dolphin trainer, a singer in the Philippines and even an interior designer. Coming from a traditional family, my parents wanted me to pick a stable career path so I ended up going to school as an International Business major. At 18 years old, I aspired to travel the world and close business deals with business partners in foreign countries. Little did I realize that math would become my biggest obstacle and eventually put me on academic probation.

Threatened to be pulled out of college by my parents, I frantically started doing my research and promised them that I would find the next best major to transfer to AND still graduate on time.

During this time, I did a lot of reflection and future goal setting before settling on Strategic Communications. My new program gave me the opportunity to learn more about a variety of skills for marketing, public relations, and journalism, just to name a few. Almost two and a half years later, I am happily working as a freelance journalist and months away from obtaining my Masters in New Media Journalism.

So, how can you find your career options too?

Reflect and do some goal setting

Before I found out I hit academic probation, I already knew that I needed to switch my major. With some help from my friends, I reflected on the following:

  • My strengths and weaknesses
  • Activities I enjoyed doing
  • What I envisioned myself doing in the next 5 – 10 years
  • Things that I am most passionate about

Meet with your college advisor

Fortunately, my school included a pre-major department where students could claim “pre-major” if they did not know what they wanted to study. During this two-year program, students would have the opportunity to meet with their advisor to sift through a list of classes and register the ones they think sound most interesting. At the same time, advisors would go through a series of activities with their students to figure out what interests them and could become potential career paths.

While not all colleges may have the same program, I would advise students to go to their advisors regularly and have conversations to figure out your career goals. Your college advisors are there for a reason!

Pick up a part-time job and internships  

Break the stereotype of #brokecollegestudent and get a job. Any job that sparks even the slightest bit of curiosity. Working while in college can help you figure out what you like and don’t like in a job. This will help you eliminate options and possibly even lead you to your dream career.

Participate in college organizations and clubs

Going into college, my biggest goal as a freshman was to join Filipino club organizations. Because I stayed active in these organizations, my journalism work revolves around Filipino culture and people. I wanted to remain active in the Filipino community. While grades and classes are important, do not forget to balance out a social life because even your social life can spark an idea for your future.

Practice your passions

While I never imagined journalism would become my career of choice, I loved to write ever since middle school. No matter how busy you get with schoolwork, your passions are your outlet and are what spark your motivation in life. Don’t listen to those who say that you cannot make a career out of your hobbies.

Remember, stay patient and be curious. Realizing your dream career takes time but as long as you work hard for it and constantly challenge yourself to try new things or keep practicing what you love, your career path will come to you in time.

Lalaine Ignao

Lalaine Ignao

Originally from Lakewood, Washington, Lalaine Ignao moved to the island of Oahu to get in touch with her Filipino identity. After writing for a few publications, she discovered her passion to become a freelance journalist, focusing on creating a spotlight on the Filipino community in Hawaii and the rest of the globe. When she’s not writing, you can find Lalaine on Kayak planning her next trip, goal setting or on social media, connecting with loved ones back home.

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