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How to choose the right future profession

The decision that determines the future of a young person has to be made already in school

Image source: © Canva / Canva
Materiały Prasowe,
23.10.2023 15:27

In order to choose the right future profession, one needs a lot of effort, determination, and courage and be interested in all kinds of things. And yet examples show that even the most curious of teenagers today are often lost in the sea of possibilities or find their chosen path disappointing. Most likely, there is no secret recipe how to maintain emotional satisfaction while pursuing your goals, but that doesn’t mean that you should give up and allow someone else to take your life into their hands.

First challenges – in school

Paulina (name changed, actual name known to DELFI), who has chosen health sciences, is in her third year of studies. According to the student, she started thinking about the future while in school and tried all kinds of leisure activities and types of sports and looked for an answer what she would like to do as an adult. Being an active girl, she did not lack creativity, courage, or determination, but realizing her true calling was not easy.

"I hadn’t really found the one profession. The biggest pressure to start making future plans came when I was in the 11th grade because I had to choose certain subjects and think about the graduation exams," she recalled.

According to Paulina, having reached this point in life, a certain vision of the future began forming in her mind, but she wasn’t sure still.

"At that time I realized that what interested me the most were natural sciences – chemistry and biology. But even then I was really confused and had no idea what I wanted to be, let alone where to apply, if at all," she said.

Remembering her internal state during the last year in school, Paulina claimed that it was full of emotional challenges.

"I was afraid I would fail the exams and would not be accepted into a university. Also, I had a lot of thoughts about choosing the right university because I hadn’t decided yet and was never 100% sure of my choice," she shared.

And yet she wanted to do really good during the exams, and this determination not only proved to be beneficial, but also caused some issues.

"The preparation for the exams was exhausting. I really wanted to pass them with flying colours, so I studied hard. I’m also thankful to my parents, who made it possible for me to have additional tutoring lessons which helped me become more self-confident and prepare better for the exams," Paulina noted.

And although in the end everything went according to plan, and now she is happy about the chosen profession and has no intention of suspending or terminating her studies, Paulina admits that the choice was a surprise even for her.

"I feel like I had been avoiding this for my entire life and telling everyone that I would never pick this profession. My choice was the opposite extreme to my childhood feelings," she said.

Fight for your dreams

During childhood, we create all kinds of future scenarios in our heads. Some want to be doctors, others – lawyers or maybe artists, athletes, or perhaps just freelancers. For some people, their dreams are imprinted by their environment or relatives, others find inspiration in pleasant acquaintances or real-life situations. The latter is the case of Emilija (name changed, actual name known to DELFI), who is now trying to make it in the movie industry.

"It all began in the 7th grade when I made my first holiday video. I edited it and felt like it had been a fun process. So I slowly started improving my knowledge, practiced more, and simply found what I really liked," she said.

Emilija’s determination to chase her dream only grew stronger.

"I made more and more videos, and when I was a little bit older, I met a Lithuanian who was doing the very same thing that interested me. The acquaintance inspired me to work even harder, study more. I had found somebody I could talk about it, have discussions, and learn something new because before that I had no people in my life who shared the same interest, not even a little. Some took basketball classes, dancing, or something else. Photography was somewhat popular, but filming and editing – definitely not," she recalled.

While communicating with the like-minded person, she gained not only the inspiration to get better, but also found out about a new study programme she hadn’t heard before.

"In the 11th grade, I already knew it was my thing. I started filming and editing more, involved my friends into the process, experimented more, and increased my knowledge. In the 12th grade I found out about the requirements, what I needed to be accepted. Unfortunately, the selection procedure took place only once in two years," Emilija said.

Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to pursue her dream career path immediately after graduating from school, she decided not to waste time and chose a study programme in another university, which, as Emilija thought back then, could also be useful.

"I made that decision because the study programme was somewhat related to what I dreamed about. I knew I could be doing what I liked if I completed this study programme and would also get certain knowledge which could be put to good use," she explained.

But Emilija also admitted that she felt a little bit disappointed at that time.

"It seemed that the chosen study programme wasn’t exactly what I really wanted, so I contemplated a lot about my future. Everybody already knew whether they had been accepted or not and celebrated the success, but I wasn’t feeling too joyful. I had to wait for another year for my dream to come true," she shared.

A year later, Emilija decided to try her luck and continue pursuing her goal at an academy that offered great improvement possibilities in her dream profession. However, she started having doubts because the previous year had been great.

"When I had to change my study programme, I did so knowing that I really wanted to, but the hard part was starting from scratch since during my first year I had already made acquaintances and close friends and got used to the place and the rules and procedures. Now, I may not have such close friends, but what I’m getting in terms of knowledge makes the choice totally worth it," she said.

So, even though the journey was not an easy one, Emilija is happy about the decisions she has made.

"I’m very content, I like what I do. We get theory and lots of practice – it seems that other study programmes are lacking in this department. It is an artistic subject, you have to be creative and spread your ideas. I feel like I can open up more as a person because, for example, at school you could reveal your artistic side during arts or music lessons, but still, you were kind of limited by the given tasks. During these studies, I feel free, there are no constraints," she indicated.

Future after studies – up to your imagination

The freedom to pursue your desires and dreams is pretty much the goal of every person. We want to go through life, gain experience, learn from our mistakes, and move towards our destination. The higher education period is a great time to rethink your future because a diploma doesn’t always determine the later stages of one’s career. Deimante (name changed, actual name known to DELFI), who is her third year of pharmacy studies, agrees with the aforementioned statements. Currently, she is happy with her choice, bet there are some doubts, too.

"On the one hand, studies are really interesting – I find out something new every day, and everything is focused on the human, the body. It is really beneficial knowing what is happening inside you every second. On the other hand, I still don’t know if I’m 100% satisfied with my choice," she admitted.

According to Deimante, doubts are often caused by thoughts about much wider career possibilities than defined at the university.

"I sort of know that, having completed these studies, I will have a lot of possible career paths, I will obtain an MA in Health Studies. Obviously, you don’t necessary need to work in the field of pharmacy; however, during the studies the focus is on pharmacies and chemists – I don’t like this at all. Chemists are only an off-shoot of pharmacists, and I believe that having completed these studies you have a very wide variety of possible jobs. The university really tries to force us into a framework where you have to strive to become a chemist. I have talked about this with my peers, and they don’t like it either," she said.

Nevertheless, the student understands that what you do after graduation is up to your imagination. That’s what she keeps thinking about these days, but admits that the aforementioned forced framework made her think about suspending the studies or even quitting altogether.

"I started considering taking a break because you get bogged down by routine and begin thinking about travelling, working abroad, and seeing and experiencing something new. I believe that many students have such thoughts, mainly due to the routine and monotony. The quitting part is related to the framework pushed by the university. It doesn’t really please my, I wouldn’t want to focus just on that aspect," Deimante told DELFI.

According to her, it is important to understand that everything is still ahead.

"I have all kinds of ideas about the future and where I could put my knowledge to good use, what is useful and looks promising, but I haven’t realized what I really want to do yet. This fact is frightening sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything with my life, but then I remember that I’m still young and that everything is still ahead.

The influence of parents

It is no surprise that the closest people influence a person’s study and career choices. Quite often children end up fulfilling not their own dreams, but the dreams of their parents or grandparents, pursue goals set by other people, and start building a career by following in the footsteps of a family member. The students also talked about the influence of their parents when making big life decisions.

"At first, my parents really wanted me to study what I’m studying now. But, as I have already mentioned, I hadn’t planned it. Maybe I was reluctant to choose this profession precisely because my parents had been constantly pushing it, I didn’t even want to consider it at one point. It seems that I didn’t have the opportunity of discovering it on my own, without the interference of my parents," Paulina explained.

Fortunately, both she and her parents are now satisfied with the choice. But Paulina is convinced that even a different choice would have made her family equally happy.

"When I decided to study this subject while being in the 12th grade, the parents were very glad and supportive – even after finding out that I had doubts. So I quickly realized that no matter what I choose, I will have their unconditional support," she admitted.

Thus, examples clearly show that oftentimes parents accept and respect the choices of their children and encourage them to look for happiness in the entire world. Sure, their advice is also important and meaningful – that’s something Deimante is willing to agree with.

"When I had to choose my profession, I had several options and I entered them into the application form, although below my main choice in terms of relevance. I guess my parents have influenced my priorities, not the actual choices. When I was little, they never told me that I had to be a doctor or a judge, but that I should have something of my own instead of just working for someone, even though this goal is quite difficult to achieve," she recalled.

Deimante complemented Paulina by saying that, one way or another, parental support for their child has no bounds.

"I don’t think it would have mattered much if I had chosen a different path – they would have supported me anyway because all of their advice was well-meant, not an order, nothing like that. They just wanted what’s best for me," the student noted.

Six meaningful pieces of advice

DELFI has reported before that, according to research, even people who are super successful quickly become disappointed when they realize that their profession no longer gives pleasure and emotional satisfaction or prevents improvement. Therefore, when choosing a profession one must take into consideration certain things in order to avoid disappointment in the long run. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University Business Management Faculty Assistant Dean Dr Milena Serzanta told DELFI what to be on the lookout for and pay attention to. She also gave six meaningful pieces of advice.

First: do not ignore your personality type

Character is a very important element, it is always with you till the very end and describes your relations with the environment. When choosing a profession, you should determine your personality type: introvert, extrovert, melancholic, sanguine, or choleric.

Having determined the type, you will be able to understand more easily if it is worth pursuing, for example, a career in IT, if you feel great when making new acquaintances or giving advice to your relatives on how to renovate their home.

Second: highlight your skills

The answer often lies in childhood games and interests. If you liked playing with LEGO as a kid and built impressive constructions without any manuals, which surprised and pleased your parents, perhaps you would make a good construction engineer or planner?

If you didn’t lack creativity and created houses from chairs, plaids, and pillows, and/or liked drawing, maybe you should improve your skills in the fields of design or architecture?

Third: create a wish-list of professions

Having analysed capabilities and interests, it is time to create a list of possible professions. A blank piece of paper and a pen not only provide for good meditation, but also allow to summarize all your thoughts and slowly start making them true.

Another important thing is market analysis. It is quite simple, actually: just browse through job ads, find out what skills employers are expecting, and what professions are currently the most popular ones.

When you have made your list, analyse the professions more thoroughly to see if they fit your personality type.

Fourth: do volunteering and professional practice

The most common requirement found in job ads is experience. How to gain it if you’re just a pupil looking for your career path?

A great way to gain some experience and get to know a particular profession better is professional practice or volunteering.

Many employers will confirm that volunteering work and professional practice play an important role when hiring new people. If you are a student, finding a suitable place for practice is even easier. The Faculty of Business Management actively cooperates with a number of large companies that have been recognized internationally. Their representatives are well aware that the best way to find suitable professionals is to look for them in universities. These days, when there’s a major lack of employees, student traineeship is in demand at organisations of various profiles.

Fifth: take part in open lectures at universities

One of the ways of not only gaining basic competences for your profession, but also having a great opportunity to find out what type of knowledge will be needed for your dream job is participating in open lectures organized by universities.

Usually, they are pretty diverse: from finances and mechanical engineering to reinforcement courses, which will help you prepare for final examinations. Vilnius Gediminas Technical University has been organising similar lectures – they can be attended live or remotely: you meet the university’s community and students, are offered to visit various labs, and participate in all kinds of activities that help choose a profession.

Any additional knowledge, training programmes, courses, and conferences will expand your list of possible professions.

Sixth: dreams hold the key to success

It is important to remember that interests, capabilities, and the chosen profession should also align with your dreams and an honest confession – what do you actually want.

If you want to make a lot of money, and that is the main priority – choose a lucrative profession. But if you fail to understand your personal traits and disregard your personality type, be ready for emotional imbalance. If you are looking for social recognition and acknowledgement, depending on personal traits, you could choose the path of an artist, singer, or economist or financial expert (the latter two professions are really valued in society).

Ideally, you need a compromise between your personal traits and the things that will help make your dreams come true. After all, dreams are a powerful motivational weapon for your goals.

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