Now’s the time to start thinking about who you are and what you want for the future.
Maybe you already have ideas about colleges, jobs and careers. But there are some important questions you should be asking yourself before you get too specific. It’s also a good idea to talk to someone you trust, like a family member, school counselor, teacher or friend. School counselors and career centers often have interesting inventories or short questionnaires to help you narrow your career focus. Parents, friends and teachers can also point out talents you didn’t know you had.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- What are your interests?
Interests are things you like to do or that you’ve always wanted to do. What are your favorite hobbies? What school subjects do you enjoy? What sports do you play for fun? Do you like to work with people, ideas, numbers and calculations, or things?
- What are your abilities?
Abilities are things you can do well. What are your special talents or gifts? Are you a good listener, talker, artist or mechanic? What things come naturally to you?
- What are your values and priorities?
Values are a big part of who you are. They are not good or bad, right or wrong. They are simply personal rules or guidelines that help you decide what is important. Everyone’s values are different. You might value family over friends or job satisfaction over money. What are your top priorities?
- What does money mean to you?
What kind of lifestyle do you want for yourself? Is it important to have a big house and new car, or are your needs more modest? Are you planning to have a family someday? You’ll want the best for them and it’s hard to get by with a low-wage job if you have to take care of someone else. Consider the education you will need to meet your financial goals.
- Do you have career goals that require extra time in college?
How long do you want to stay in school? Different careers and professions require two, four, six or even eight years of training after high school. What level of skill do you want to reach? And does this match your lifestyle preferences?