AUBREY PFEFFER '26
How to Find the Right Career
Arguably the most important part of high school, finding the right career path can be hard. In the United States, people between ages 18 and 24 have an average of 5.7 career changes. Luckily for students at Saint Ursula Academy, we have our amazing counselors to help us find our own unique path! I interviewed a few SUA counselors and teachers to gather some of their valuable knowledge on discovering the right career.
What are some things to consider when selecting a career?
Mrs. Wilker says your passions! Think about what you are passionate about and your interests. When deciding on a career, see if there are any connections to your current interests.
If you hate being alone and call yourself an extrovert, working in a place without personal interactions everyday would not be a good career fit for you. Likewise, if you hate the sight of blood, working in the medical field may not be the best decision either.
Do your research! Doing some research on future pathways can assist you while you are in search of a future career pathway. It’s great to take career assessments and to know why you got paired with certain results. Sometimes you can discover career options that you would’ve never have known existed!
Look into education requirements. When researching career pathways, discover how many years you would need to spend in college and even after. For instance, getting a business degree requires less time in school than becoming a cardiologist would. It's important to understand what your college timeline will look like and, realistically, how long you will need to be taking courses to achieve your degree.
Check the salary and lifestyle. The work/life balance component is also important. Money may not be the key to happiness but it is important to understand salaries when considering the cost of college and where you hope to live and work. For example, if your dream is to move to New York, the cost of living is greater than in Ohio, but salaries in certain professions can also be greater as well. Likewise, career choices with different specialities also make different salaries. Someone who becomes a corporate lawyer makes significantly more money than a lawyer who works in family practice.
Ms. Tidwell mentions a quote which says, “If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.” What you want right now may not be where you end up at. As you grow and see the world differently your interest will change, but if you are truly passionate about a particular career pursue it.
Mrs. Clever notes that it is important to determine what you like to do, and to consider what you want to learn about and having a willingness to work on increasing your skills in that area
Where should you start when researching careers?
According to Mrs. Kramer, some of the best ways to consider careers are to work in the field that interests you through co-ops, internships or part-time work while in college, and to follow your passions. If you are passionate about something, it will show in your work.
What are some ways a student can get hands-on experience of a job (like an internship)?
Mrs. Clever states that camps, classes, job shadowing and internships all provide opportunities to dig deeper into an area and to determine if it is something you would want to pursue as a career.
Mrs. Wilker points out that the SUA Counseling Office offers some great outreach programs to help link students with current professionals in the field. These programs are called Career Lunch and Learns and happen a few times a year right here on campus! Many students even connect with the career professionals after the events.
What should you do if you can't decide between careers?
Mrs. Kramer mentions that a great thing about 2022 is that career paths are more flexible and fluid. Most young women professionals from the ages of 18-34 average 9.1 jobs. Be open to different career paths and remind yourself that your skills may work beautifully in many different careers.
Mrs. Clever mentions that if you are interested in a few different careers and are having difficulty determining which path to take, consider looking at internship or job shadow opportunities in order to gain actual experience in each job environment. Also think about connecting with professionals in each field and interviewing them about the pros/cons of their job. People are usually very willing to meet with you to talk about their profession and what they wished they knew before they started as well as the lessons they learned along the way.
Ms. Tidwell suggests that if you still are not sure as to what you want to do, to speak with your parents, guardians, or school counselors and come up with a plan to assure that you have some sort of way to make money.
What else should we think about when looking at careers?
According to Mrs. Clever, many of the jobs that you and your classmates will be in 4-8 years down the road don’t exist at this point in time. Technology is changing at such a rapid pace and new career fields are being created each year. You may want to consider looking at developing skill sets that can be transferred across multiple career paths. Being a collaborative and creative person with strong problem-solving and communication skills will serve you well in many different career paths.
Ms. Tidwell adds that you don’t have to have all the answers right now, with the support of your community and some time you will figure it out. This is not a one size fits all, what works for others may not work for you.
If you are still in need of more help choosing a career, schedule a meeting with your counselor to further discuss what you can do to find your unique path.