Finding My Passion

Finding Your Interests

Some students go back to school knowing exactly what they want to study and what they want to do with it.

But not all.

In fact, many students approach the idea of continuing their education with some uncertainty: there are plenty of options for what type of training to pursue and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by choice. If that sounds like you, the Imagine America Foundation is here to help with some suggestions for coming to a decision.

After all, figuring out what you want to do is often the first decision in a long line of choices you’ll need to make in order to pick a career training program, choose the school you want to attend, and start setting yourself up for success—in the classroom and beyond.

What do you dislike doing?

Sometimes it’s easiest to start with what you don’t want to do. Do you already know that you don’t love the idea of setting at a desk for a typical 9-to-5 office job? That quickly eliminates several possibilities!

Take a look at our database of schools, categorized by program, and take note of which ones don’t have any appeal to you. Often, students can quickly narrow their choices down to one or two broad fields: health sciences, mechanical sciences, information technology, or business and arts.

From that point, it may feel easier to start thinking about you do want to do.

What have you always enjoyed?

Maybe you’ve always enjoyed working with food and creating satisfying or elaborate meals. That may inspire you to consider a culinary artist program!

But the connection isn’t always so cut and dried. Some people have always loved creating order and categorizing information; that could point to success in a career like medical billing and coding or computer programming.

Think about past jobs, classes, or activities. What parts made you feel excited to be there? Do you love interacting with people? Do you have a knack for providing care and support in any situation? Do you enjoy creating or building something new?

Putting the clues together

There doesn’t have to be a right answer here!

Consider how your interests, preferences, and skill sets can intersect in a career path that you’d love. Ask yourself about the tasks and fields you’re frequently drawn to—and even think about the things you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t.

Do a little extra research and see what career trends are happening in your potential fields of interest. Are jobs projected to grow? Are salaries on the decline?

Did you narrow your list down and then get stuck between a couple of options? Try a classic list of pros and cons to see if one path comes out ahead of the others. Still stuck? Try putting the decision making aside for a day or two and then come back to it; sometimes clarity takes a little while to show up! And if all else fails: listen to your gut.

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