How did you know what you wanted to do with life (in college)?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 8:20 AM GMT
    I was recently Pre-Law....and now I'm not, after doing an internship at a law firm.

    Now I'm back to square one. Pre-Med, Pre-Business, or something else?

    I'm a sociology major (yes, I know most people think it's a joke, but I kind of love it...like a LOT). There's so many options when it comes to sociology.

    But people say you don't have to know what you wanna do during your first few years of college. Turns out---that's kind of a lie. So many different pre-reqs you have to do and extracurriculars...etc.

    So my question to you all is...

    Was there something you did (experience wise) that led you to do what you do today (which I'm hoping is something you love)? Or am I just completely missing something here?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 11:52 AM GMT
    I was studying history in college. I took archaeology field school in Arizona to work with ancient Native American groups. I loved it, and ended up taking an internship the next summer at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. I want to now do work either in Native American history or work with Native American groups now. Or just work for the government helping people out too if that doesn;t pan out.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 12:03 PM GMT
    I studied BS Bio first because I love it. It was one of my earliest dreams which crystallized sometime in Kindergarten. "To be a scientist!" (Lord knows at times, it changes to "I wanna be an Astronaut!") LOL. But then on my third year I began to realize what my chances really are in getting a job after I graduate. The opportunities for pure sciences here are scant. You'll most likely have to be a teacher. I looked around at my classmates and realized almost all of them were studying Biology for Med school. And if there was one thing I never wanted to be, it was a Doctor.

    So despite my parents pleas not to and my quite stellar grades, I dropped it. Abandoned the romantic dream of being a researcher somewhere in the jungles cataloguing fascinating new species, or a paleontologist delicately brushing rock away from fossils... *sniff* Abandoned it for a lesser but still resonant dream: my love for art and computers.

    And another roadblock, there were no art schools for computer graphics courses here. Or if there were, they were exclusive rich-kid schools with tuition fees that would leave you in debt for years after you graduate, not to mention the quality of that kind of education here is questionable. Eventually, I chose an associate degree in computer programming. A far cry from the BS Biology course, but still something I love.

    In the end though, what I know now of the career I want to follow is self-taught. Accumulated after years of after school hours in front of the computer merging two interests: art and computers = 3d art. I'm now at a level where I can enter professionally into art for games. I've been contributing for about 3 years now for a small team of international game developers for free, developing our own original IP universe in making mods and games. We're currently part of the Epic's modding competition, the Make Something Unreal Contest 3, which has a totalf cash prize of $1 million and the rights to use the UT3 engine for developing our own standalone game. Already won a few of the early phases, but the final one will be this August.

    And it's scary, because a lot of our dreams are hinged on this one. Dreams years in the making. If we win, we'd go commercial finally and finally get paid for our creations. But if this doesn't fall through... well... poop. icon_sad.gif

    In the end, I knew what I wanted to do out of life without school. In some cases it's that way, like in 3d graphics, where the industry shifts so quickly that curricula cannot keep up with it, and schools mainly focus on the art side, rather than the techniques side. Still good to have a degree in it, but not essential. In other cases, you really have to be sure of the career path you want because you could be wasting years of your life in school for it and then change your mind (like I did).

    I KNOW what I want to do in life. My problem is not that... it's where I am now in life. Thousands of miles away from the nearest studio which could hir me. Which sucks... hard. Blah!

  • Latenight30

    Posts: 1525

    Aug 08, 2009 12:03 PM GMT
    Well before I went to college I didn't know what I was going to do, like early HS. In 10th grade I got invovled in theatre. I went to college for it and have worked at something I love for a long time now.
    Just choose a field or a career and work somewhere in that.
    You will do fine.
    Also develp a skill. Anyone these days can get information from a search engine but if you have the skill to apply it thats the money maker.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 12:09 PM GMT
    I was an English major because I fondly imagined a future as a writer.

    Ha! Confronted with the real world and its pesky need to pay the bills I dropped this fantasy and did what so many other English majors have done -- I went to law school.

    To the OP - I'm not surprised the internship made you ditch the law school idea. Big firms can be pretty grim places.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 12:45 PM GMT
    On the first day of university (enrolement day) I literally picked two majors in the car - psychology and sociology. After one day of sociology I changed to psychology and English. I ended up with a psychology major and a european studies minor.

    Why psychology? Sounded good in the course guide icon_biggrin.gif Over the four years of my BA/Graduate Diploma I alternated between wanting to do all types of psychology - counselling, clinical, organisational, child/adolescent. Wasn't till the final semester in my final year that I decided I liked health psychology.

    I did a PhD in Behavioural and Community Health coz I had no idea what to do after I did my undergraduate degree. I chose a thesis topic after reading an article in a gay magazine icon_smile.gif

    I now work in drug and alcohol research.

    Where I started and where I ended have really not had much to do with each other on the face of it, but in reality, the skills I learnt early on have been transferable to other disciplines. If I had my time again I probably would have done sport psychology at some point, but few universities here in Australia offer it and I would have had to move etc etc.

    I think do whatever you like/love and what you can sustain doing for 3-4 years or more. I enjoyed psychology and do still do.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 1:22 PM GMT
    Going to college I knew I wanted to do something with Music. I've been playing instruments since I was 4 years old, but I did not want to go into performance, I wanted something more technical. The university I attended only had an option in performance, so I went into business. It didn't happen, so I jumped around from major to major. After finishing my GE classes and running out of options I decided to transfer to another university that had Recording engineering. I'm studying recording and intern as a sound technician. It took me 4 years to decide what I wanted to do, there many out there who have been in school longer than I have and still have no idea what to do. The one thing I would advise if you run out of options and classes to take, take a break, save some cash, intern somewhere and if it works pursuit it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 1:30 PM GMT
    i still have no idea what i wanna do lol
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 08, 2009 1:34 PM GMT
    So I'm very curious... why did you decide you didn't want to go to law school once you had served as an intern in a law firm???

    I received 2 undergraduate degrees at 22 and headed directly to law school.
    My father and uncle were both attorneys and it made absolute sense at that moment for me to gain my JD degree and go to work as an attorney in a law firm or for a major corporation as my father had as legal director.

    But its interesting what can intervene.... I taught horsemanship from 9th grade until that point in time... and I loved teaching, I loved running my own business. It was the parent of one of my students that suggested I go into financial planning... and thus (more study)... The Series 7 was even harder than the Bar exam to me.. but all went well.

    So no law firm, but I love what I do!

    My suggestion: You must enjoy what you do in life.. you know what turns
    you on professionally... incorporate it.. live it and do it with passion!!
  • Hunter9

    Posts: 1039

    Aug 08, 2009 1:36 PM GMT
    i didnt have the slightest clue, although i was pretty convinced majoring in economics would be a good idea for something in business down the road, but that was awfully broad.

    it took four years after graduation that i just happened upon my current industry which is a perfect fit for me.

    if you don't know yet, don't sweat it
  • jlly_rnchr

    Posts: 1759

    Aug 08, 2009 1:37 PM GMT
    I read The Hot Zone in 8th grade and decided I wanted to go into biology, specifically viruses and bacteria. And that stuck all the way to college, where I got a degree in Microbiology.

    Unfortunately, I accepted the first job I was offered, which is in a redundant, boring, clinical lab that deals with neither viruses nor bacteria. Kind of a waste of my degree.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11525

    Aug 08, 2009 1:40 PM GMT
    i finished college over 20 years ago and i still don't know...my curent job was supposed to be "just for a few months" until i found what i wanted. icon_confused.gif
  • dreamer121

    Posts: 265

    Aug 08, 2009 1:48 PM GMT
    I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.

    I just graduated with Two degrees, one in business, one in art... 204 credit hours later. I've realized, I don't know if I want to work on Beer/Alcohol ads for the rest of my life (kidding... sort of).

    I'm trying to do some searching, just give it some time, and find what you have passion doing. (thats at least what i'm hoping will work for me these next few months!)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 1:57 PM GMT
    I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life in college at all. I went on to grad school because I did school well so I just wanted to keep doing it. I thought I wanted to become a professor of Japanese history, but I didn't have it in me to keep going with the work on my dissertation. I felt too cloistered... wanted to get out and enjoy life a bit more. Worked a few jobs, until I finally landed something in study abroad... then I figured out what I wanted to do with my life... only took ten years, but I did! icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 3:35 PM GMT

    I don't think you necessarily have to think in terms of the rest of your life. How about thinking about the next chapter of your life? My very strong advice is to think about what matters to you - i.e. what your values are. There are a number of books out there with exercises to guide you through this. "What Color is Your Parachute" is a classic. If you pay more attention to doing the exercises in the book than reading the whole, text, you will likely find your values coming into focus. I would suggest that you plan on not sharing your list of values with anyone else - at least not until you are well along in the process. One of the risks in the exercise is that you identify the values you think you should have or that you identify values that you think others might expect you to have.

    A parallel exercise is to think of what you love doing or what doesn't feel to you like work when you do it.

    And another favorite of mine is to write the obituary I would like to have the world see when I die. I can then ask myself what I would need to change to be on a trajectory for that memorial to be accurate.

    When I was in college, I was very focussed on money, power, status, security and also sure I wanted to work in developing economies. That lead me to grad school in the UK and to a fantastic 17 yr career with one of the world's fastest growing banks. Several years ago I came to realize that my the rewards of that career were no longer in line with my values, which had changed a lot over time. I no longer needed or lusted after money or the excitement of the next deal. A less grueling schedule, more time with my kids, less travel, time for community work and teaching really mattered. Somehow, after going through this process of identifying values, preferences and skills, I got the idea of trying to fulfill a kind of fantasy job as an animal trainer. It took me a couple of years to make the transition, but here I am, once again feeling very lucky every time I get to go to work with another beast.

    I have also just accepted a position with a non-profit that provides financial counseling to people in need of car loans. So I get to combine my interest and skill in finance with my interest and skill teaching.

    I'm guessing that your college has some sort of careers office, etc. They may be able to help guide you through this process.

    Best of luck and enjoy the journey!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 3:45 PM GMT
    jlly_rnchr saidI read The Hot Zone in 8th grade and decided I wanted to go into biology, specifically viruses and bacteria. And that stuck all the way to college, where I got a degree in Microbiology.

    Unfortunately, I accepted the first job I was offered, which is in a redundant, boring, clinical lab that deals with neither viruses nor bacteria. Kind of a waste of my degree.


    I remember that book...one of my favorites in grade school. I had a fascination with that stuff too, but ended up in biomechanics..I love the body icon_razz.gif LOL
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    I've done undergrad majoring in International Relations and now I'm in Law school. Before getting into International Relations, I was an art major. I joined an art school for an year majoring in Textile designing and left it because it just wasn't working out for me since my family didn't approve it.


    If Elle Woods from Legally Blonde could graduate with an honors in Law, so can I. icon_smile.gif

    Wanting to do Masters in Political Science after Law school. Currently working for Attorney General of Pakistan and loving it already. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 4:12 PM GMT
    I'm still hoping that what I've chosen is what I end up wanting to do...I actually started learning sign language back in high school and had always had a love for the language, people, and culture. I actually started off as a psych major as so many people do, but I realized I only liked learning about psychology, and that truly I did not want to pursue a career in it. It was then after minoring in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies that my professor took me aside and asked why I wasn't majoring in this field. I asked myself why not, and when I couldn't come up with an answer I changed my major and am graduating this Spring with a B.A. in Deaf Education... haha but now I have my credential work and Masters to get, so we'll see how much more school I can take.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
    I went into my first year of NYU as a pre-med Biology Major with chem minor planned. After 1 semester and the realization that my contemporaries were considerably sociopathic I decided I did not want to pursue this career. The students would sabotage each others work to sift out the competition - it worked for me - I couldn't imagine having to adopt some of the same behavior to get through.

    I started taking some core course and fell in love with psychology before I knew it I was focused on clinicial psych and completed my BA and eventually went on for further education and licensure at NYU's grad program. I have never looked back. Love my career and the work I do.

    I'm self employed and make a satisfying, honest and meaningful living.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 6:09 PM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidSo I'm very curious... why did you decide you didn't want to go to law school once you had served as an intern in a law firm???


    Um, you know that feeling you get when you're doing something and you just don't feel like you care so so much about it? I got that feeling after one week of my six week internship. :T

    And it wasn't a boring law field. I followed a guy that did litigation law (which is what I thought I would have wanted to do)...so yeah. Haha.

    BUT YOU GUYS ARE ALL AWESOME and I've gotten some great insight and just inspiration from all the posts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 6:12 PM GMT
    For me it was doing work(volunteer, pre-internships, and paraprofessional work) in a classroom that helped me to decide to go into education and also to take all the prereqs needed.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 6:16 PM GMT
    I always loved math but i also loved singing, and painting, and dancing and whatever. I wanned first to be a physicist and a performer.... then I realized I was born to be a computer scientist lol....
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 11:09 PM GMT
    In many ways it's been decided for me, I've just gone with the wind.

    I studied Social Work at Uni, and in the last week decided it was not for me, and walked out.

    I gave myself six month off too give myself time to decide what I was to do next, so put my name down for voluntary work, and was givern paid work as as Integration Aid with children with Autism and ADD/ADHD.

    This work took me into the Carer field. I looked after Children, old people, Cared for People with HIV/AIDS in their own home, and so on. I never in my life thought of becoming a Nurse, but it just happened.

    I have been so blessed to of had the sun of good fortune shine down on me. I have thrown my life to the wind, when I have not known what to do, and where it has taken me has been amazing. So I have never decided on what I wanted to do, I just let it happen.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 08, 2009 11:22 PM GMT
    um.. yeah, if i did bad in even one required course, i'd change majors and minors... but i always knew in the back of my mind i'd leave university with a general arts degree.. so there you have it! ..LOL
  • SFGeoNinja

    Posts: 510

    Aug 08, 2009 11:49 PM GMT
    I'll be graduating at the end of this year with degrees in Geography and Urban Planning. Geography is not a completely useless degree bc it comes with GIS which at least is marketable, but still that's not a good route unless you want to be a cubicle-bound number-cruncher for the rest of your life (which sadly how a lot of GIS data-entry work seems to go). Urban planning is at least a more specific track, but most agencies and consulting firms haven't been hiring since the recession began. Also, you need a graduate degree to get most planning jobs icon_sad.gif(((.

    My general approach is to just not worry about it too much, continue getting yourself out there both socially and professionally. Get a couple of good references, pick up a second language. Take on as many internships as you can, network through them and through your groups of friends, and you never know what you might end up with!