By Alex Bamford
Guest Writer, aged 17
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing more difficult than sorting out your life. Amongst the chaos of personal statements, CVS and exams you’re also told that you have to decide what you want to spend your life doing. No pressure, right? Well don’t worry, take a deep breath and relax because I’ve got some advice that will help you find the right career for you.
Embrace your passions
The first step is to think. Think about what you love, what you enjoy doing and what you’re passionate about. Now, you COULD choose a career that makes your parents proud or that makes you super rich, but where’s the excitement in that? It’s always better to find a job you find fulfilling than a job that you dread when you wake up and that you can’t stand from getting in to going home. You should do what you love and love what you do. A simple piece of information I’ll give you is that you’re only going to live once. It’s up to you to make it a life you can look back on as a life well lived.
I know that finding one career to choose can be hard, impossible even. How can you narrow down thousands of careers into just ONE? Well, you don’t have to. It will always help to try out your dream career and there’s nothing more valuable to you than getting work experience or even to volunteer there. This can either develop your passion for the career or let you know that it’s not right for you. It’s so common for people to realise that their ‘dream’ career isn’t what they thought it’d be and for them to move onto a new ‘dream’ in a very short period of time. And that’s good for them. Experience will allow you to move on and try different things. It could be that you liked some aspects of a career and loathed others, so use your experience to find a different career that focuses on these positive aspects.
Obviously this won’t always be a possibility. You might want to be an astronaut, but it’s doubtful that NASA will send you to space for work experience, no matter how politely you ask. Even if it’s not possible to try a career, you shouldn’t give up. It’ll always be possible to research a career, to email and write to relevant people. As long as you try, you’ll find something that will help paint a picture of what the career is like.
Don’t be afraid of failure
So, you’ve applied for your dream job, your dream university or even your dream work experience placement. You hope the letters, the interviews and the fretful thoughts have been worth it, but sadly, you’ve failed! What can you do now? Yes, you could cry and mope or you could get back up and try again. Failure doesn’t have an impact as long as you learn from it and as long as you try again, so try again. Retake, rethink and adapt your dreams if you can. But believe in yourself, don’t let yourself get beaten down by this. Of course you can do it, you’re you. You know what you’ve been through and what you’re capable of so use this. Flaunt your skills and abilities to employers, show them how valuable you are, how much you’re worth, and keep trying.
The most important piece of advice that anyone can give you is to stop worrying. Don’t worry if you don’t know what’s right for you. No matter what your parents or teachers tell you, you don’t need to decide your futures by the time you’re 16. As you grow older you’ll naturally have more experience and so what you’re passionate about will change and you can find yourself in love with a cause you never even knew existed when you were 16. Your time will come, all you have to do is have patience. And finally, I want you to know that you don’t need to have just one career. For some the most fulfilling lives are those that adapt and change, changing careers and trying new ones can never be bad as long as you enjoy what you’re doing. A career you don’t love won’t make you smile, so smile.