On a regular basis I am asked what I want to do after I graduate from Nipissing. I usually reply with a smile, an awkward laugh, and a shrug. When I started university, I hadn’t really decided what I wanted to do in terms of a career, and that’s perfectly O.K.! To anyone else who is in the same boat, I have a few pieces of advice to offer.
Often it can be helpful to think about the aspects of a career that are appealing to you. For instance, do you like working in groups or on your own? Do you tend to think logically, creatively, or both? Are you interested in a job that is physically demanding? Career quizzes may not provide you with results that interest you, but the questions they ask can help you think about some of your likes and dislikes. This may help you narrow down your program or career options.
As you mature, it’s very possible that your interests will change, so it’s important to keep your options open. By taking a variety of different courses in high school and post-secondary, you allow yourself the flexibility to change your mind without having to back track too far. Pursuing a broad degree with the option to specialize later on can also be beneficial. For example, you may know that you’re interested in business, but you haven’t yet decided what stream is best suited for you. One of my favourite aspects of the biology program at Nipissing University is that it exposes students to a range of areas of study within biology and then offers more specific, interest-based courses in upper years while still leaving room for electives in other disciplines. By taking a variety of course types, you may discover something new that you are passionate about and want to pursue further.
Don’t let others’ opinions get in the way of your dreams. You may have read articles about the highest paying jobs or the fastest growing fields of work, or heard from others that you shouldn’t pursue a certain career because you won’t find a job. It’s true that a job in your desired field may not just be handed over to you and it may take some work to get where you want to be. But if you start small, stay open minded, and think outside the box, you’re much more likely to end up in a career that makes you happy compared to if you choose a career based on earnings or job prospects and not your interests.
Last, but certainly not least, try not to stress too much! Your journey after high school will likely not be a straight path and it’s O.K. not to know exactly where you’re going. You’ll experience some tough uphill battles and may take some twists and turns along the way, but trust the process and everything will work out in the end.