Last Updated: Sep 8, 2017
New York City; Photo by Madisen Martinez
Once high school rolls around, some students get so overwhelmed with all the big decisions they have to make, while others do not let any of these new responsibilities phase them. But all high school students should find a happy medium, where they start to notice where their passion lies. Before you begin to pursue your interests, how do you know what exactly are your interests? Here are a few tips from my experiences and advice I have been told.
Discovering your passion early
First, notice which classes you find yourself looking forward to the most. Keep in mind, one class may be difficult to get an “A” in, but it could still be an interesting course to 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) [editor’s note: thanks, Madisen!], 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 you are 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 that passion may be.
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 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 is 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 do not love to do. For example, if math is your least favorite subject, yet you are not half bad at it, you are going to do the easy work to pass and get an “A” or “B” if that is the way the wind blows. But you are not going to want to take the time to impress your teacher or boss if you would 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, because you may have multiple interests and cannot decide on just one until you further explore the possibilities of each. And employers do not necessarily hire college graduates with only one specific major; there is plenty of flexibility. Many occupations offer training while on the job, so a major designed for one career may be just fine in another. It is 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 is 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 have discovered a new interest in architecture. (Which will I pursue in college? Good question!) Recent travel has sparked that new interest (see photo above), yet I have lots of experience in the communications field. I plan to apply to colleges with both majors, and from there I will see where the Lord takes me.
So, 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. Feel free to leave any advice or share your own experiences in the comments! I would also be happy to offer any advice if you want to get in touch. Best of luck to you on your journey!