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Student Harvee Patel Conducts Research At Erskine College

Choosing a Career Path

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Some of us know what job we want from the time we’re children. Some of us know what we want to major in before we even start high school. Some of us…not so much. Choosing a college major and career path can be challenging for many students.

I always tell college students to start thinking through their career paths as freshmen. It’s better to plan ahead than to wait until you’re about to graduate from college. If you’re thinking about this before college, that’s even better! After all, your career plan can help inform your college choice.

So, when we’re considering majors and careers, how do we know which way to turn? Where do we start?

Starting with God

I often begin a discussion about careers by going back to Genesis 1:26-30. From the beginning, it has been the will of God for humanity to work. It’s our responsibility to rule God’s creation and labor for its flourishing. But, because of sin and the Fall, work isn’t always what it should be. At times it can be fulfilling, but it can also be difficult.

The Purpose of Work

So, what is the will of God for our work? I like to point students back to Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

God is more concerned with our attitude toward work than with our career path. As Christians, our goal should be to glorify God through our work, whatever our jobs may be.

Once we understand the purpose of work and the attitude we should have toward it, the question still remains: What kind of work should I do? What major should I choose? How do I know which career best fits me?

I encourage students to view “career fit” like the center of a diagram with three circles that represent your desires, your abilities and skills, and your financial needs. All three are important as you choose a major and prepare for the future. Let’s look at each of these, one at a time.

Venn Diagram Illustrating An Approach To Choosing A Career. Look For The Place Where Your Desires, Your Abilities And Skills, And Your Financial Needs Overlap

What do you enjoy doing?

Do you like numbers? Are you passionate about helping people? Do you like reading or writing? Is playing the piano your favorite activity?

If you can put your passions to work in a major and career, this is ideal. After all, whatever career path you follow, you may be in that field for a long time. It’s always helpful to enjoy what you do each day.

So, don’t forget to consider what you want to do. You may get the chance to do it full-time!

What are you good at?

While you should consider what you enjoy when choosing a major or career, your desires are not always the best compass. It’s even more important to evaluate the talents and abilities God has given you. If you enjoy an activity but have no talent or skill in that area, you should either spend time honing those skills or choose a different field.

Can it support you financially?

If a career path suits your interests and your abilities, you still need to consider whether you can make a living in this job.

Some fields are difficult to break into or do not pay very well. Now, if you are good at something and it is your passion, then you shouldn’t give up on it, especially if you believe God is calling you there. But, it’s always important to plan ahead and think of alternate paths. Perhaps you can pursue your desired career as a hobby until you are able to make it into a full-time job.

The sweet spot is the center

If you can find a career path where all three circles meet—desires, abilities, and finances—that’s the ideal! God has given you abilities and inclinations, so you should not go against the grain except when necessary. Sometimes you won’t start off in the center of the circles and you’ll have to work toward that over time.

Whether you’re able to pursue your chosen occupation right away or you need to wait for the right time, remember that God has gifted you with talents and abilities, and He can equip you for your career.

Other Resources

For more insight on life decisions, check out these resources:

Where Does God Want Me to Work? desiringgod.org

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a College Major collegeboard.org

Five Tips for Choosing a College Erskine College blog

 

When you’re ready to tour colleges, you’ll want to know what questions to ask. For that you can read this article:

14 Questions to Ask on Your Campus Visit Erskine College blog

Will Johnson

Director of Student Success

Expert Contributor
Erskine and Due West Skyline

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