Finding Your Passion- Study Break
Finding your passion will be one of the most important things you will do. Your passion will influence what you do with your life: what you receive a degree or certification in, what level of education you pursue, the type of career/job you have, and what legacy you leave. But, if you don't know what your passion is, don't worry! Here is some guidance to help you find your passion:
What makes you happy when you are sad or upset?
What motivates you to push through struggles?
What would you be happy focusing on for the rest of your life?
These three questions are just your starting line, but if the answer to all of these questions is one thing, then that very well might be your passion. Once you find your broader passion, start doing research.
What can you do with that passion?
What jobs are in that field?
What schools, trade programs, or certifications support this career field?
If you can answer this second set of questions then you have likely identified a potential career in line with your passion. Now you see I said potential because until you try it out it's all hypothetical. Now you have to try and get some kind of experience. I'm not even talking long-term; see if you can try it out for just one day. You may be able to volunteer at an organization that offers opportunities relevant to your passion, or you can reach out to a professional in that field. Many professionals are happy to let you shadow them for a few hours to see what their job is really like.
After you try it out for a day you can evaluate if you'd like to commit more time to try it out long term. You can volunteer for a longer period of time, or perhaps you may want to explore specialized programs. Harford County Public Schools has many great magnet programs for students to obtain hands on experience and/or specialized training in certain areas of study. As of 2021, the HCPS magnet programs are as follows:
Talk to your guidance counselor if you are interested in these programs or are curious about other specific non-magnet programs your school has to offer. By using your time in high school to gain experience you should feel better prepared for the future, but if you are already in your later years of high school, in college, or a recent college graduate do not worry! This is where volunteering and internships come in. If you need a job that will make you money over the summer then look for paid internships that will give you the opportunity to gain real-life experience in a field you are interested in while making money. Depending on what field you're interested in will determine how hard it is to find a paid internship, but I have seen paid internships in my field of study, which is known to have almost exclusively unpaid internships.
If you need resources on where to find internships see if there is a Facebook group for the field of study you are interested in. You may be able to even find more regional groups based on what you are interested in. Another great resource is high school guidance counselors or college academic advisors, who can help you find internships, so make sure to consult them! CONECT is another great place to stay informed when it comes to work-based learning and job opportunities, just be aware that it does not include ALL available opportunities and those posted on the website do change frequently (so make sure you're subscribed so you hear when new job postings go up).
In the end its trial and error and sometimes you find you passion through a complete fluke- I discovered mine after I watched the movie Dolphin Tail (no dolphin pun intended). Be prepared to take the experience you can get even if you don't think it's exactly in line with what you want to do. Just do what you can to test the waters before you dive in and I have no doubt you will find a passion.
As always if you have any questions or need help feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org