Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do or be when they grow up. When the time comes to decide what to study or choose a career, it can be a difficult and anxious time for most.
Making a choice about studying further becomes important during the last years of school – first when it’s time to make subject choices in grade nine and again in matric when you need to finalise your plans.
Choosing a career can be scary, and many people take a long time figuring out what they want to do with their lives. It’s quite normal not to be sure which path to pursue – even if your friends are.
Here are a few guidelines to make the decision-making process a little less intimidating.
- Do research on the different fields and careers that interest you and consult with education professionals about your options. Start by making two lists: one list should be about things that interest you, what you enjoy doing and the school subjects that you perform well in; and the other should list the things that you don’t find stimulating or interesting.
- Research careers related to these fields of interest – on your own and, if possible, with the assistance of a student counsellor at the potential institutions you may want to study at. By doing your own research, you will get a better understanding of careers that could a good fit for you and help you narrow down your list of options.
- Get advice from educational advisors to help guide you in the right direction. Reaching out to people working in the careers or industries that interest you is also a good idea, as they will be able to give you practical advice and information about what it’s really like working in those roles.
- Do a personality quiz to see how your personality and interests can be matched with potential careers. This can be both helpful and fun. You can, for example, identify whether you are a doer, thinker, creator, helper, persuader, or organiser and the traits of your dominant personality type may provide additional career guidance.
Remember that if you made a career choice in your late teens, it does not mean that you need to stay in that field for the rest of your life. Many people change careers during their lifetime – either by upskilling within a certain field or by studying a completely different field while they remain in their current employment.
Committing to an approach of lifelong learning instead can take the pressure off and will allow you to make the best decision for you, for now.
Wits Plus offers full-time applicants an additional opportunity to get a sought-after place at the University of the Witwatersrand as a part-time student in selected undergraduate degree programmes.
Visit Wits Plus, Centre for Part Time Studies and Wits DigitalCampus, call +27 11 717 9510 or email [email protected] for more information.
About Wits Plus
Wits Plus, the Centre for Part-Time Studies at the University of Witwatersrand, offers selected undergraduate degrees and a wide range of short courses. Evening classes make all qualifications accessible to working people and busy entrepreneurs. Wits Plus also offers a growing range of online short courses that enable you to study when it suits you.
This article was paid for by Wits Plus.