How do I find direction & meaning in college?

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“I’m a junior, double major in Broadcast Journalism and Music. For most of high school until this year, I had planned on being a journalist and having a career in news. But most of this school year, I’ve been almost completely disenchanted with journalism and am feeling directionless. How am I supposed to  figure out what I’m meant to be doing?  And how do I finish my degree without feeling like everything I do serves no purpose?”

I was so excited when I received this question in my inbox. It’s amazingly honest and so many people experience this! As scary as this is right now, it’s awesome that you are sorting through this currently and not when you are 30 years old!

Whatever you do, don’t change your major. 

If you only have one year left–just finish your degree.  It is not worth changing at this point when you’ll have to spend more time and money in school.  (*If you have 2+ years left, it’s worth looking into a change of major.)  If you need a different degree to pursue what you want to do, just get a masters.  For most careers, you just need a degree, which is the same with getting into graduate programs.  So don’t sweat it if you’re degree doesn’t line up with your career interest.

How do you stay motivated taking classes in a field you don’t want a career in?

My advice would be to aim in creating strong relationships with your professors and classmates.  Work hard in your classes so that you have good references–even for a different field. (You never know who will end up where and how a connection may help you.)  However, sometimes we are in seasons where we just have to push through. You can totally push through for 9 months. Eye on the prize. Graduate. Get a degree.

In the mean time, how do you figure out what you really want to do post-graduation? That is my favorite question of all time.  And this is what I want you to do.

1) Go to a coffee shop or your favorite spot where you can reflect and process. Set aside at least an hour to do this.
2) Write down every job or role you’ve ever played (leadership positions, sports, music, activities, etc)
3) Next to each role write down what it was about those jobs/roles that you really enjoyed or that made you feel really good about yourself.  Really push yourself to thoroughly reflect. 
4) Look for themes.  Are there 3-4 themes that keep popping up?
5) Take some time to brainstorm by yourself.  What types of jobs out there could I do those 3-4 things?  (These themes may be skills you utilized, tasks you had, or certain aspects of the environment you thrived in.) 
6) After you’ve spent time brainstorming, I want you to go process it with a few different folks.  I would recommend your parents, a trusted faculty/staff member (or a mentor of some sort), and your 2-3 best friends.  Ask them what they picture you doing or what other strengths they see in you that you may not have identified.  

God has uniquely wired and gifted you.  He has also already given you tons of experiences that have highlighted and strengthened those unique talents.  Consider those two things (your talents & your experiences) and see how you can pick a career based on them.  But above all, just pick something. Anything. Your career isn’t the end-all-be-all.  Don’t try to find all of life’s fulfillment in your job.  Pick something that you think you’ll enjoy and that you are decently good at.  If you try it out for a few years and decide you want to do something different, then you can do something different!

So press on, sister. Finish that degree and just pick something that fits your talents & experiences.  Your goal should be to pick a job that you can do at least one year, preferably about three.  Then, you get to reassess!  All these “huge” life decisions aren’t really as dramatic as we make them out to be.  One day at a time. One decision at a time. You’ve got this.

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