After years of pouring time and energy into required schooling, you may feel you’re not up to the challenge of deciding which post-secondary course to take.
“Life is a sum of all your choices,” mused a famous author and philosopher. The thought that we’re building our life one decision at a time reinforces the need to make good decisions. For many of us, though, the only thing we’re decisive about is avoiding decisions.
Sometimes it’s much easier to let someone else make decisions for us, or to tell us what to do. When we become young adults, however, the choice is ours. Standing at a crossroad in life with schooling and career decisions ahead of us may seem uncomfortable, or even terrifying, but the freedom to choose our own destiny is priceless.
After years of pouring time and energy into required schooling, you may feel you’re not up to the challenge of deciding which post-secondary course to take. Maybe you feel like taking a gap year. Or, you may be eager to jump right into the working world and start making money. How can you make the right decisions for you, as an individual? Instead of stressing about the choices that lie ahead, consider six ways you can improve your decision making.
6 Ways You Can Improve Your Decision Making
1) Talk to Others
Take time to speak to guidance counsellors, mentors or tutors to gather information. Don’t forget to talk to family and friends to get suggestions and advice. Ask them, “What am I good at? What career do you think I will excel at?” Don’t make decisions based solely on what your friends are doing, but be open to suggestions. Resist asking others to tell you what to do, or what they would do in your shoes. The truth is, no one else really knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. Your goal in talking to others is to gain knowledge that will help YOU make your own decisions.
2) Do Research
It might sound like a lot of extra work, but doing research will pay off. Visit open days at colleges and universities, and even at different businesses. Take part in campus tours, and check out career centers and libraries. Go online to college and university web sites to learn about the types of courses available and the length of the programs, especially if you’re anxious to begin a job as soon as possible. Some courses are streamlined and don’t take as long to complete as others.
Spending time to promote a worthy cause or to offer assistance to disadvantaged members of society can help you see qualities or traits within yourself that you may want to continue nurturing, even when earning a living. Perhaps a career in healthcare, hospitality, or teaching would be a good fit for your personality.
Don’t ignore the type of person you are. You can excel at whatever you choose to do as long as you are passionate about it. Ask yourself, “What do I really like to do? What am I really interested in? Do I get bored easily? Do I work better on my own or in a group? The answers to this kind of honest self-evaluation will help you choose a career that suits you.
5) Keep Your Doors Open
If deciding on a school, a program, and a career all at once is overwhelming, consider taking courses that would allow you to work in a variety of fields or industries, such as business management. Look for programs with credits that are transferable should you decide to continue your education.
6) Take a break
For some, taking time off to reflect on their choices helps them to deal with big decisions. A gap year can give you time to learn about yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. Traveling to other lands can open your mind and expand your horizons. Experiencing other cultures can broaden your viewpoint. Realize, though, that eventually you will have to make a decision, so keep that fact in mind as you explore the world.