CAREER: Life choices
Article #: 255559
I am currently at university in my first year. I am extremely unhappy and miserable. The course just isn't what I want to do and I can't see a career that I would want to do when I finish. It's a 4 year degree so it's a long time for me to be unhappy and then end up with a job that I hate. My dad says that sometimes you have to do things that you don't like in life and that a job is a job and a degree is a degree whether you like it or not.
I have an alternative plan of what I want to do so it's not like I don't want to do anything. I just don't want to do something that makes me utterly miserable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many Thanks.
Thanks for writing. Let me start with my initial reaction: if you love your job you will never "work" a day in your life. That's an old phrase, but based on truth. I share it because I understand your sentiments.
Having said this, let's back up a bit. Here are some questions you might consider (again) -
1. Did YOU want to go to college?
2. Who selected your major - you OR were you strongly advised to choose a career?
3. How are your initial grades?
4. Within the curriculum, are there any classes that you find really tough?
Without knowing your responses, or talking to you directly, I am going to consider two tracks. Here is track one: I wonder if you are a little overwhelmed with school and, perhaps having trouble in certain subjects. Many required classes can be hard (as in taking a language) and they seem to have no relevance to your major (such as being a school teacher). In short, make sure your view of the major you have chosen (or was chosen for you) is not being colored by the ups and downs of your first year in school.
Track two is assuming that your gut instinct is right; ie: the major or career target is NOT for you. Have you talked to anyone in the career you are currently pursuing? Does it sound interesting? If not, then you are right to wonder if you should spend 4 years chasing a degree you don't want.
College is very expensive and your time is valuable so it's key you address the value of continuing in this current direction. The good news is that many students can easily change majors in their second year, because many of the first year classes are general. In other words, you could say to yourself, "Year one in school is not what I expected, but I will give it two or three semesters and either change majors, change schools or simply withdraw and go in a different direction".
As for your dad's comments about a job is a job, etc., I know he is simply trying to make sure his daughter (that would be you) is able to be independent in life. You may have only "heard" half of what he said and, perhaps, you are underrating his real empathy for what you are experiencing. That said, think about how you answered my first four questions. Know that this first year in school is a testing and sampling period in your life. YOU can change things if you wish. Working with a school guidance and/or career counselor could be timely now.
Feel free to write back, and good luck.