Youth Perspective: Overcoming the challenges of choosing a career path

As this school year is coming to an end, Delaney Hatfield from Mentor USA’s Youth Advisory Committee shares her thoughts on overcoming the challenges of choosing a career path, as well as some very insightful and concrete advice on this matter, in this month’s Youth Perspective article.

13 June 2022 | Youth Advisory Committee

When all you know for the first 18 years of your life is school, it can be daunting to think about what comes next. “What do you want to do with your life?” “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” These are the questions both high school and college seniors know all too well. They seem like simple questions but, most of us have not experienced much of the world during high school besides extracurriculars and minimum-wage jobs. You may have a dream career in your head, but what if it isn’t what you thought it would be when you get there? What if the career you want isn’t what others think is best for you? These doubts are just a few of the conflicts both high school and college graduates must deal with when thinking about majors and careers.

You can write and rewrite your own story until it feels right for you. It’s never too late to try something new.

- Delaney Hatfield

Being a senior in college this upcoming year I have dealt with this personally, and I understand that it is not an easy task to narrow down what you want to do with your future. Everyone’s situation is different, but if I could give any advice to upcoming college freshmen on this topic it would be:

  • Don’t be afraid to try something new. Your first two years of college is your time to explore classes and clubs and determine what you are passionate about. Use this to your advantage and learn as much as you can.
  • It is OKAY to change your mind. Just because you thought you wanted to do one thing doesn’t mean you have to stick with it if you find something else that suits your needs and makes you excited. Plans change and so do people. As you grow you will become more aware of what feeds your passions and motivates you in life.
  • If you’re like me and you have a hard time making decisions, use your resources. Go to the career center at your college or guidance counselor at your high school. Instead of focusing on what you like try to cut out everything you don’t and narrow your choices from there.
  • You can be your own worst critic at times. Try not to let fear of failure, the unknown, or others’ opinions sway your choices. At the end of the day, it is your life and your future. If something makes you happy and fulfilled, then follow that feeling.

I can’t speak for everyone, but this advice helped me to change my major and career path multiple times, and at the start of my third year of college I couldn’t be happier with my choice. People are constantly changing and evolving, including what they want to do with their career.

Your future doesn’t have to be set in stone when you’re 18. You can write and rewrite your own story until it feels right for you. It’s never too late to try something new.