Closeup of compass with arrow pointing straight to the word Passion

How to Discover and Pursue Your Passions as a Student

Having a passion is great, but it can be hard to nail down for many people. Learn how to find yours and pursue it whether you're in high school or college!

Once high school rolls around, some students get overwhelmed with all the big decisions they have to make, while others don't let any of these new responsibilities phase them. But all students should find a happy medium where they start to notice where their passions lie. Unfortunately, nailing down a passion can be difficult for many—before you begin to pursue it, how do you know what it is exactly? Here are a few tips from my experiences and advice I've been told.

Discovering your passion early

First, notice which classes you find yourself looking forward to the most. Keep in mind that one class may be difficult to get an A in, but it could still be an interesting course for you. Also note which classes you find to be a drag. From here, look for clubs involving your favorite subjects. For example, if you love math class, then joining the school math club would be a great way to pursue that interest. If you love writing papers in your English course, then it would be ideal to reach out to the school or local newspaper, online resources (such as the amazing CollegeXpress website), blogs, etc. to gain more experience in what you love to do. If you play sports year-round, one way to expand this passion would be to volunteer with coaching youth leagues or offer lessons to beginners. Use your talents to help others discover theirs!

Taking the opportunity to hone your talents and pursue interests also looks impressive on college and job applications. Both colleges and employers want to see that you're interested in your intended major or position. Going beyond the classroom to prove so is in your best interest; it shows your desire to pursue whatever your passion may be.

Related: 3 Easy Ways to Pursue Your Passions in High School

Finding your passion a little late

What if you reach your senior year of high school or college, far along the path of what you thought to be your passion, when you realize it’s not something you want to do for the rest of your life? Some people may decide to continue on anyway since the acceptance letter or degree is right in front of them. You have the skills needed, so there's no reason to start all over or begin something completely new. But think: Is it worth starting the morning off by wishing the school or work day was already over? You may have all the skills you need to make it through, but no one can thrive in something they don't like or love to do. For example, if math is your least favorite subject, yet you aren't half bad at it, you're going to do the easy work to pass and get an A or B if that's the way the wind blows. But you aren't going to want to take the time to impress your teacher or boss if you'd rather be spending your time doing something else. As scary and unpredictable as it may look, changing your mind and taking the path of a different interest is not the wrong thing to do.

Colleges have the undecided major option for a reason—you may have multiple interests and can't decide on just one until you explore the possibilities of each one further. And employers don't necessarily hire college graduates with only one specific major, so there is plenty of flexibility. Many occupations offer training on the job, so a major designed for one career often works just fine in another. It's best to dive into your favorite interest, but if it turns out to be less than what you expected, no worries! Passions evolve, and there's no rush to know what your career will be for the rest of your life by the time you reach 18 or even 22. Follow the path you find intriguing and it may lead to another unexpected path.

Take it from me…

Personally, I thought I had my plans set since the beginning of high school on a career in broadcasting until the summer going into my senior year of high school. Now I've discovered a new interest in architecture. (Which will I pursue in college? Good question!) Recent travel has sparked that new interest, yet I have lots of experience in the communications field. I plan to apply to colleges with both majors, and I'll see where the Lord takes me from there.

Related: Passion and Success: Advice to Take Your Interests From Major to Career

Enjoy the process of discovering who you are yet to be. Lots of eye-opening experiences come from testing the waters, and you never know where the next path will take you. Best of luck to you on your journey!

Colleges want to see your passions shine on your applications! Learn more by reading our article about 5 Examples of Real Passion Projects That Admission Officers Love.

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About Madisen Martinez

Madisen Martinez

I am Madisen Martinez from South Dakota. I'm an active high school student involved with extracurricular activities such as soccer, basketball, and track. My favorite thing to do is experience new adventures through traveling and vacations with family. My dream is to pursue a career in journalism, because I want spread inspiring stories to the world. I also want to give back to my country by serving in the military after college. I aim to be known as someone who always makes the time to help others.


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