Last semester, I changed my major from international studies to social work. It was definitely a nerve-wracking decision, and there’s still the possibility that things could change and I could change my mind again, but I do feel confident that my decision was a good one. That isn’t because I’m 100% set on a specific career, but because I’ve had the chance to learn more about myself and the kind of career in which I’d be happy.
In middle school and high school, I changed my mind countless times about what I wanted to do after graduation. I wanted to be a photographer, then a horse trainer, then a veterinarian, and I even thought about the possibility of going into nursing (then I realized that I absolutely loath math and science). What I eventually realized was that I found the most satisfaction when I was helping people. I loved volunteering with kids and in my community. In school, I enjoyed my Spanish classes beyond anything else I took. When it came time to select a major for college, I chose international studies because I thought I was combining my interests.
The classes I took weren’t as practical as I had hoped they would be, and I wasn’t learning quite what I thought I was going to be. I decided to see a social work advisor after a friend suggested it, which turned out to be a great decision. My social work advisor was so helpful and encouraging, and I realized that it would be a great fit for me. I want a career helping people on a personal level, and whether or not I work abroad, I want to be able to incorporate my language skills into that career.
One thing I love about social work is that it’s such a diverse field. Social workers are in schools, hospitals, courts, child welfare agencies…you name it. My dream job is to work for an international aid organization. Since I’ve been studying social work, I’ve also realized that working in the medical field is something that interests me, too. The point is this: I don’t have everything figured out, but I’m learning more about myself and working towards a kind of career that I’m passionate about.
If you’ve found yourself pursuing a career that you aren’t excited about or don’t love, my advice to you is to stop. It’s much better to have “wasted” a few semesters taking classes you don’t like than to spend years upon years in a career that makes you miserable. Take your time in deciding what you want to do. Talk to advisors for different majors. Talk to people you know who work in those career paths. Ask if you can job shadow someone. Volunteer in the kind of workplace you’re thinking about. Ask yourself if it’s something that interests you and excites you. And remember that if the answer is no, that’s okay. Keep researching; keep learning–not just about majors or careers, but also about yourself.
A follow up to an ) earlier post