Celebrating your high school graduation, you sit down to dinner to have a commemorative meal with your family. Just as you expected, your grandmother asks you the question you can’t seem to escape, “What do you want to major in?” You pause because, the truth is, you could see yourself moving in a variety of different directions. It’s tough to pick just one path. “Erm, I’m not really sure,” you answer with a meek smile. “Well, what are you passionate about?” she challenges with an exaggerated flick of her spoon, mashed potatoes flying across the table.
Most students going into college don’t know what they are passionate about. Knowing your values will certainly help you in the future, especially when it comes to deciding on a major and (eventually) a career. Try these tips to get you pondering about the principles you truly care about.
Recognize your strengths.
Acknowledging your strengths allows you to capitalize on the unique qualities you bring to this world. What comes effortlessly to you? Try not to focus solely on academic strengths, but also on distinct personality traits and aptitudes. Once you make a list of your favorite quirks, think about how those characteristics can be translated into areas of study. There IS something for everyone. Also, don’t allow feelings of inadequacy keep you from pursuing your dreams. I mean, everyone has to start somewhere, right? With time and practice, you have the capability of becoming the next great talent.
Make a list of all the topics that interest you.
You may find that you have a variety of interests, and that’s outstanding! Versatility is a valuable quality to have. When it comes to finding your passion, it really boils down to which interests are better left as hobbies, and which ones you could see yourself pursuing long term. The best way to figure it out is to test out different activities in your everyday life. Follow your curiosity! What gives you the most enthusiasm? Perhaps it’s a good idea to examine the activities you enjoyed as a child, and think about how that converts into your adult life. Through experimentation, you will be able to rule out the things you don’t like. And if you don’t like what you are doing, stop, reevaluate, and try something new. Think of it as a process of trial and error.
Contemplate what you’d want to do if money wasn’t an issue.
Often times, people seek particular careers based on the amount of money they will make. And don’t get me wrong, supporting yourself is important. However, high salaries do not equate to happiness. Feeling joy, fulfillment, and inspiration triumphs any amount of money you could ever make. In discovering your passion, you may find that it doesn’t fall into a category that is typically known for cutting a large check. It may feel risky, but have faith in yourself. Whatever it may be, the world is waiting for someone just like you to try something extraordinary.
With time, you will find yourself. Remember that life does not move in a linear pattern. Meaning, you will have ups and downs, and that’s okay. When in doubt, ask yourself: What makes me happy? What impact do I wish to have on the world? How can I be the best version of myself? Reflect on your values, align yourself with your beliefs as best you can, and trust that everything will work out the way it is supposed to.
Hopefully these tips give you a good starting point in investigating your own values and passions. Enjoy the journey and happy soul searching!