One of the most stressful things in life is having to make life-impacting decisions.  There are so many career and schooling options, and while some are easy to cross off the list, others take some narrowing down.  This week we will be discussing some tips and tricks to help you through that decision-making process.  Though these tips are meant to help you, keep in mind that ultimately the decision is up to you.  That being said, hopefully at least one of these tips will be of benefit to you in that journey. 

Make Options Manageable 

Some of you may struggle with having too many interests.  Start by making a list of your interests and narrow those down.  Specifically, consider what you would like to do as a job versus what you would prefer to remain a hobby.  Because there’s more responsibility associated with a career, some people struggle when they work within their favorite interest because it decreases their love for it.  Consider pursuing your second or third favorite interest in order to find a job you love yet won’t ruin your free time. 

Assess Yourself 

Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as what you enjoy.  One of the easiest ways to fall out of love with a job is to find it either too hard or too easy.  Consider what reasonable challenge would be for you, something that will push you but is still doable.  There are many tests online you can use to do your self-assessment, such as career or even personality tests.  Be sure to utilize these resources as needed. 

Consider the Length of Educational Requirements 

Once you understand yourself, you will likely know how much training/schooling you are willing to do.  Be open to considering a wide variety of educational options, not only basic, in-person university studies.  While many careers may require this type of education, there are many other careers that do not.  Instead, online or certification programs may be available which are more effective for you and your needs.  Know the effort you are willing to put in. 

Talk to Someone 

Specifically talk to both a guidance counselor and individuals who work in the fields you are interested in.  The best way to understand exactly what a career is like is to talk directly with people who do it.  Often doing research online only provides a basic overview of a career.  The day-to-day experiences of working in a specific career can only be explained by someone who is actively engaged in it.  Additionally, talking to a counselor will help you with your self-assessment and will help you expand your understanding of your options within a certain field. 

Set Goals and Create Plans 

Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two, set both short-term and long-term goals.  What can you do now to get started and what other steps do you need to plan for?  Then map out your plans.  Being able to see how your goals can be accomplished relieves a lot of stress, particularly if you properly breakdown an otherwise overwhelming journey.  If you do still have two or more possible options, making these plans may help you realize which option actually feels more reasonable for you.  Regardless of what you choose, never be afraid of a bit of a challenge (within reason) and know that you are more capable than you likely realize.