12 Why It Matters: Career Exploration

Sonji Nicholas

Why learn about career exploration?

Think back to the time when you first began to contemplate college. Do you remember any specific thoughts? Were you excited about the idea? Did you talk to a friend about going to college? What began to draw you into the web of college life? What compels you to be here now? Your decision to come to college was likely related to your career in one way or another. You may have come to college to gain knowledge or training that will help you in your prospective career. You may have come to college to figure out what you want your career to be.  Furthermore, as many FSW students identify as first-generation college students, family may also be a source of motivation for attending college. two women talking

So how do you go from college to a career? Here are some basic steps.

  1. Self-Examination. Take the time to critically look at yourself—your hobbies and skills. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? What jobs can these apply to?
  2. Explore. If you don’t know what you want to do, take the time to instead explore your options. If you can, take introductory classes—these types of classes often give a broad introduction to fields of study. If that isn’t an option, you should also talk to an academic counselor about your different options and career pathways. There are also numerous personality and job aptitude tests available that can help you select an optimal career path.
  3. Find a Mentor. Find someone who’s already established in their career (whether they work in your field or not). Having a mentor who’s already established themselves can be extremely helpful—especially when you come up against setbacks. They’ve likely faced similar situations, and they can give you the perspective and advice you need. These types of mentors can be a parent, a professor, or a school counselor.
  4. Find experiences. Try it out. You may think you want to do something, but you find you can’t actually stand doing it once you get into a work setting.

It is important to note that these steps don’t always happen in this order, and sometimes you may find yourself suddenly back at step one—examining yourself all over again to figure out what you want to do. Making your way into a career isn’t necessarily going to be a linear path, and that’s okay; in fact, it’s pretty normal. As you learn and grow, your interests, passions, and skills will evolve with you. Some of you may already be on your second or third career. You can apply what you’ve learned thus far and share your knowledge with your peers.

In this topic on career and college readiness, we examine key connections between your motivations to be in college and your ultimate success in achieving your goals. We also examine how your college experience prepares you for a specific career as well as to attain general skills that you can apply to multiple pursuits.



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Why It Matters: Career Exploration Copyright © 2023 by Sonji Nicholas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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