Maybe you’ve heard it since you were three-years-old and wanted to be either a firefighter or a doctor when you grew up. Or maybe you just started hearing it as you counted down the last few months, weeks and days of high school. Soon you are asking yourself, “what should I do with my life?”
Studies show that 31.5% of people that feel truly engaged in their work, according to Gallup's State of the American Workplace 2014. You don't have to feel that way, though. Despite the timing, frequency and exact wording of the delivery, chances are it’s a message you’ve heard at least once in your life: the world is your oyster. It’s a place of endless possibility. It’s yours for the taking. Sounds easy enough.
So how exactly DO you take it? How DO you narrow down the possibilities into something manageable? How DO you seize the day?
The journey looks different for everyone, but the scenery experienced along the way ultimately falls in how you decide to answer these questions.
For many, applying to college after high school is the obvious choice. It’s never even been a question. It’s the logical, socially acceptable next step. And it’s a good one.
Research shows graduates generally out-earn people without degrees. In a 2014 report by Pew Research Center, millennial workers with at least a bachelor’s degree had median annual earnings of $45,500. That is significantly higher than those with some college ($30,000) and those with a high school diploma ($28,000).
There is no doubt about it: having a degree is a valuable. Yet there’s something to be said for work-life balance already in the college years. And being well-rounded means more than having a fine arts degree these days.
It’s based in experience. In finding your passion. In living your dream, not just in the classroom, but in the so-called “real world.”
And it’s not as new an issue as one might think. Research on the importance of diversifying your experiences in college dates back as far as 10 years. Value remains in a degree, but employers want more. And frankly, so do students.
While it is true that every student will most likely seek something different from their college experience, the act of obtaining a degree is not always the most important part of the experience.
3 Critical Needs to Find a Career You Love
1. Developing Skills Matters
Nearly a quarter of college grads are actually overqualified for their jobs.
One in four [college grads] worked in either retail or amusement parks, one in six was a bartender, one in five was a telemarketer and one in seven was a taxi driver.
And things haven’t changed much since then. Some say the number of overeducated and underemployed college graduates has increased in the millennial population, citing statistics that claim the issue is worse now than in it was for any generation in American history.
The question is not what major to choose, but what you can do with that major. Thinking about how to align your interests with a career path starts by doing. Trying out different internships in college arms college students with the tools they need for any job after finishing school, but most importantly helps them make an informed decision on which will be the most fulfilling.
2. Having Experience Matters
Experience is a necessary complement to anyone’s academic experience. It may be something as simple as finding a job in a related career. But now is the time to dream a little bigger. Now is the time to explore and try new things and experiment with different career fields that are related to your passion.
Now is the time to explore the world.
Why not try an internship as an event planning executive in Florence, where you could have day-to-day contact with clients and assist in prospecting work?
Or how about a public relations placement with an Irish politician in Dublin, where you could get an inside view into international government and politics?
Or maybe you could consider an engineering internship at a consultancy firm in Sydney, Australia, where you would work in design, construction and project management.
All of this, and more, is possible while you’re in college.
3. Finding Your Passion Matters
It might not come naturally to think outside the box about opportunities like that, but that’s why there’s help.
That’s why companies like Global Experiences seek to provide chances for college students to experience everything the world has to offer.
Stepping outside your comfort zone might not be easy, but internship placement programs like Global Experiences have changed the lives of 6,000 students. With the help of more than 4,000 employers in 11 locations worldwide, the professionals at Global Experiences are believers in finding your passion.
They know student internships are a valuable part of anyone's college experience, enabling them to make informed decisions at a younger age and ultimately pursue a career they love.
Now Is the Time
And realistically speaking, college is the perfect time in life to gain experience and develop skills in a more unconventional way. Not only do you most likely have less strings attached to world travel, but now is the time to find out how to make your passion into your career.
If you are an accounting major who loves surfing, for example, why not consider working in a finance department at a surfing company? There are ways to uncover your passion while simultaneously developing your skill set. That’s how most people learn best, in fact, by doing.
You learn from trying something and perfecting it. You learn from being in different environments and learning from culture. You learn by embracing your strengths and finding the ideal way to make them work for you in your career.
Because ultimately it doesn’t matter whether it started when you were a three-year-old pining over the possibility of becoming a doctor or it’s something you just started thinking about recently. Because it’s true: the world is your oyster.
And while getting a college degree is a great place to start, finding ways to gain experience, find your passion and develop practical skills helps you make more informed decisions at an earlier age.
You deserve a career you love.