Every child gets asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Eventually, that child turns into a teenager and really has to think about the answer to that question.
And sometimes the answer isn't so easy.
Some kids know exactly what they want to be but career counselors say that's pretty rare. They say most young people struggle to find the right career path.
But there are a few things that can make the process a little easier.
Jenelle Henry, director of the Career Planning Center at Cedar Crest College says, " I think the best thing they can do is go out and experience. A lot of students try to learn what's out there but they don't go and experience it."
Henry says students needs to find job shadowing opportunities to help them see what different careers are really like.
"Sometimes if they're way at the beginning of the process, I'll go back and I'll say what did you want to be when you grew up? What can you see yourself not doing?" she says.
Lizzie Martin is a student who has decided on medical school. Shamara Rhodes is a criminal justice major. Sarah Pilkington is in communications. They all say choosing was difficult.
"It took a lot of hard work," says Lizzie.
" I went from journalism to social work to criminal justice," says Shamara.
" I started originally as an education major," says Sarah.
They all seem comfortable with their choices now and offer this advice to younger students:
Shamara says," Make sure you write down all the things you're good at."
Lizzie says," Always keep an open mind."
Sarah says, " Try not to stress too much about it. You'll figure it out eventually."
Counselors says students should ask themselves these questions:
What are my natural talents?
We all have natural talents, certain tasks that come easy to us. When we use our natural talents, time moves fast and we tend to receive compliments for our abilities. Knowing where your natural talents lie is key to choosing the right career.
Of course we’re capable of doing other things, but those other tasks usually feel more like work. What do you always enjoy doing, and how can those skills be applied to a job?
What’s my work style?
Each of us has a preferred work style, even if we don’t realize it. That style can sometime conflict with a career choice. For example, a flexible work environment might allow you to deliver projects on various dates, while a structured environment would require specific deadlines and strict guidelines. What works better for you? In which environment do you tend to thrive?
Where do I like to work?
What’s your preferred work location? Your preference could vary from a small regional office to corporate headquarters to a home office, an airport hotel in Buffalo or a beach suite in South Florida.
How often do like to work away from home? Do you mind traveling for your job? If living out of a suitcase makes you cringe and you need a consistency in your workplace, avoid careers that require a lot of moving around.