One of the toughest questions on the Common Application or that students are asked in any interview is: What do you want to do with your life? 

Making that decision, especially at the ripe old age of 17, is an over-commitment. It is something that most students are not ready to do. It is something that leads adults to question their choices and paths later in life. 

There are so many factors that play into choosing a path and a career. Little of this involves focusing on personal passions. But before students can determine their paths, they have to identify their motivators and passions. How can students do this?

1 – Consider things that you have always enjoyed doing.

Early childhood interests often reflect students’ deepest passions. Squelched by real life pressures, these interests fall to the waist-side as academic, social, and even financial responsibilities become the priority. If a student once enjoyed writing stories, doing science experiments, playing math games, they should consider these interests while searching for their passion. 

2 – Now consider things that you also do well. 

While a student might be interested in certain things, he/she might not be particularly talented in that area. Some students enjoy taking art classes but are not meant to be artists. The key is to combine your interests with your talents. 

3 – Read through a university course catalog.

Given the depth and breadth of college courses, looking through a course catalog and pinpointing interesting classes is a great way for students to pinpoint their passions. It is also a solid method of determining subject matter and career paths that would not be right for them. 

4 – Try new things.

Now is the time to take that online class in biodiversity, clarinet, statistics, or fiction writing. Anything a student does can spark a new interest. 

5 – Eliminate financials from the passion equation.

What would the student do if he/she had all the money in the world? By considering a career without financial rewards, students can decipher their interests rather than modify them based on a career’s earning potential. Ultimately, students want their careers to be personally and financially fulfilling. But if money is the defining motivator, students might end up sacrificing their interests.

6 –  Set specific goals.

Students do better with structure. Make lists of interests, consider how to pursue them, and track progress and accomplishments. If students set deadlines, they will more likely be able to achieve their goals.

7 – Talk to a College Counselor or Career Counselor.

Most students need some additional guidance. GAMECHANGER’s college and career counselors have insights and tools to help students hone in on their interests and can guide them as they search for a career that suits their passions and interests. These experts can also help students to build resumes that reflect their passions. 

8 – Leverage social media outlets.

Once a student has figured out what he/she loves, turn to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram to connect with people who share their passions. Read blogs, ask questions, and become immersed and educated in areas of interest. This could lead to connections and knowledge that can help launch a career. 

Now, with the world on pause, students should take the time to explore. They should consider what motivates them, what interests them, and what makes them passionate. And remember, GAMECHANGER is always here to help.