Choose your own path

In today’s world, making choices can be an incredibly daunting experience. There are more opportunities to choose from than ever, which can sometimes seem overwhelming. From choosing what subjects to study at school, to choosing a course at university, to deciding what city to live in and what kind of job to have, there are an awful lot of decisions involved in shaping the life you want for yourself.

Instead of feeling panicked at the amount of information out there, here are some steps that you can take to make things easier for yourself, and to help you find your place in the world.

Do what you are good at

When faced with the vast array of subjects, courses and jobs that are available, it can seem impossible to make a decision about anything. Unless you are one of those people whom have simply known from a very young age that you want to become a doctor or a lawyer, making choices about what to study can seem limiting, as though you are cutting yourself off from opportunities.

The simplest way to solve this dilemma, until you have a better idea of who you want to be, is to do what you are good at. Most people are naturally better at some things and others, and it is wise to follow your talents so that you can improve on them and use them later in your life. If you have a natural ability for numbers study Maths, or if you’re brilliant at drawing do Art.

At the end of the day, you will do best at the things you enjoy, so pursue the things that come naturally to you. Don’t worry if you prefer playing the guitar to writing essays do what makes you feel good and it is likely you will be successful at it.

Make a list of your skills

If you feel like you aren’t particularly good at anything, you are simply having a confidence crisis. Everyone is skilled in one thing or another. It is often helpful to make lists of the things you are a good at or enjoy, which can help you to get an idea of the kinds of subjects or jobs you might be good at. Skills aren’t limited to academic or creative pursuits for example, if you are very good at listening or enjoy throwing parties, these kinds of skills can lead to jobs as counsellors or event planners.

Try everything

It is impossible to know what you enjoy unless you have tried it, so say yes to all of the opportunities that come your way. It often happens that people end up in jobs that they would never have dreamed of. Saying yes to opportunities helps you to learn what kind of environment you work best in, and what you do and don’t like. Embarking on projects leads you to meet new people and get involved in new things, which can help you to find something that you really enjoy.

Nurture your hobbies

Often, very successful people have attained recognition in fields that they merely practised as hobbies. For example, there are many famous novelists who worked as scientists and doctors, or lawyers who became famous musicians. Your profession doesn’t necessarily have to be your passion, and you should ensure that even when you are revising, you make time for your hobbies. It is possible that you could study and train for years to excel at something, when your true success lies in a project you have been enjoying on the side.

Believe in yourself

Self-confidence is, of course, the most important factor in making choices. Friends, family, teachers and colleagues will tell you what they think is the best route for you, or may try to pressure you into pursuing particular goals, but ultimately your decisions shape your life, and you are the person who will have to live with the consequences. Do the things that will help you to become the person that you want to be, regardless of the influence of others.

Remember it is never too late to change your mind!

Don’t fear permanence. One of the benefits of the wide range of choice we have today means that if we have a change of heart there is room to stop what you are doing and start again. More and more frequently, people will try a number of different careers in their lives before they find one that they are really happy with. Don’t fear making decisions dropping science at A-Level doesn’t necessarily mean that you are saying goodbye to it forever. People make mistakes and we change all of the time, and the world today is built to accommodate that.

Additional resources:

Choosing the Right Path for University
Choosing your A levels
How to Choose and Oxbridge College

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