Some people have known their entire life what they wanted to be when they grew up while others are simply going through the motions hoping that the correct career path will fall into their laps. But there is a third group of people that kind of have an idea, but also kind of need more evidence to push them in one direction or the other.
College is a great time to explore all your professional options because you have a great opportunity to learn about multiple industries without having to make a full commitment. Being able to try before you buy regarding your career path is a huge gift.
Beginning Your Journey
Before you can start to focus on where you want to land after graduation, you must first, graduate. Planning out your collegiate journey is just as important as figuring out where your professional passions are. As you are researching schools, and programs of study, learning about earning potential in the areas that most interest you will also help you to create a financial plan for yourself as well. The need to cover college costs with borrowed money is quite common.
You can take out a student loan from a private lender to pay for college. Making the commitment to a student loan is a way to invest in yourself and your future since the ROI on a college education is more times than not, favorable. Different courses of study will have different price tags, so as you explore loan options take that into consideration so that you can decide on an amount that is both realistic for achieving your goals as well as for paying back after you graduate.
Seek Out Internships
Internships are a great way to test drive a job and industry without diving headfirst into it. Internships by design are geared towards college students and typically have term limits, so finding opportunities that fit into your schooling schedule should not be terribly difficult. While many of these positions are unpaid, what you will get out of them is a resume boost, connections, and real-world experience that can be used in your career pursuit.
Typically, interns will wear many hats, it is not uncommon for an intern to be assigned tasks and projects that feel outside the scope of the original job description. Instead of letting this fact overwhelm you use it as motivation to really tune into what parts of the experience you enjoyed, as well as the parts you did not. One major choice an internship can help you make is regarding your preference of being on the project management side or the analysis side of a business. Both departments are essential but their duties day-to-day are quite different.
Pay Attention to the Baby Steps
Your overall college experience is a compilation of so many things so make sure that you are making decisions along the way that not only support your end goal but also feel authentic to your passions. Deciding where you will live, picking out your courses, and developing good time management skills are all examples of how the small pieces matter. Give yourself grace when you make an error and allow minor setbacks to be teachable moments to support intentional decision making down the road.