For many students, getting accepted to their top-choice college is only part of the battle when they aren’t yet sure what they want to study or where their passion lies. And that’s okay! It’s completely normal for college-bound students to not know which major or career choices will bring them happiness and success. After all, it’s one of the most important choices one will ever make in their life, and for many, an informed decision takes some exploration of options and oneself.
For those who have no idea where to begin, here is a list of ten perspectives to consider when searching for where your passions and interests lie.
- Here’s a handy formula to start off: Passion = interests + strengths + values. Fill in the blanks – what do you get? For some (lucky) people, this can be easy and obvious to answer. If it’s not, don’t worry, let’s keep moving!
- What do you like to do? What are you good at? For many of us who lean more towards being indecisive, this isn’t an easy question. Still, make a list, even if it takes days, weeks or months of rumination. This will establish a good starting point in the least.
- What do you not like to do? What are you bad at? Unlike listing out things you like, many people tend to know very quickly what it is that they don’t like. This can actually help with creating that list of things you do like, but at the same time, don’t write off all your dislikes either. Ask yourself why you dislike those things – it’s possible that the thing you truly love is hidden in those dislikes, and maybe you just need to see them from a different perspective or gain a new understanding of them.
- Can you handle rejection in an area you are interested in? Sometimes, you never know where your strengths truly lie if they are never really tested against adversity. Remember, on this journey or finding your passion and strengths, failure is a great teacher.
- Try everything. For some, but certainly not everyone, discovering your passion could be a matter of stumbling on something you didn’t expect. This is why it’s important to try everything at least once. And don’t limit yourself to activities in school – get out in the world, read LOTS of books, take up anything that you might feel a glimmer of inspiration from. Even if you try 100 different things and still nothing clicks, that’s not failure – that’s living life.
- Try therapy and counseling. Just as professional athletes can only be pushed to their highest potential with the help of a coach, therapists and counselors can help push you to being the best, most authentic and most conscious version of yourself. Remember, therapy isn’t just for people who have issues – it’s for people who want trusted and positive guidance in learning about themselves. Know thyself and you will know your passions – and more.
- Network and make friends. This is what college is all about. You are never alone in trying to figure out what your “thing” is. You don’t have to discover your interests, face the world or build your career by yourself. It’s always better to take this journey with friends.
- Believe in yourself. It’s possible you already know what your passion is, but sometimes we talk ourselves out of things out of fear or lack of confidence. Developing courage, confidence, and simply believing that you are capable is often the majority of the battle.
- Some passions need investment. For some, passions aren’t simply just stumbled upon. They may never present themselves obviously. For these kinds of people, passions might require a little work to cultivate, but trust that the end result is very worth it. Don’t be afraid of the work you might need to put in. For these kinds of people, it’s about the journey, not the destination.
- Be open minded. Look at things of interest from multiple perspectives – and then look at each of those perspectives through multiple lenses. Contrary to popular belief, interests are not fixed or defined when you are young, at least not for everybody. The main point is, there is more than one way your passions can be discovered. Be open to every way.
If you’ve read this list and maybe a few others and you still don’t know what your passions might be, you are not alone. Don’t worry, don’t give up, and never lose hope. Many people might build up a successful career in life that doesn’t make them feel fulfilled, only to leave it all behind, take risks, and find their true “thing” much later on in life. It is always better late than never. Good luck!
Want to hear from some people who really matter? Check out the McDonald’s APA NEXT Education Summit on YouTube and Facebook (and now translated in Korean)! The summit features celebrity speakers and experts in the APA community talking about college, becoming your own boss, mental health, and more!
Want to learn even more? Explore these resources from McDonald’s, exclusively for the Asian Pacific American community.
This post was made by NextShark in partnership with McDonald’s.