Welcome back to the second part of our journey of exploring your future career orientation. If you recall in the first part, three stories of undergraduates were told as a reminder that if you are still in doubt about your upcoming internship or your future, you are definitely not alone. To help you address the question of ‘How to untangle this concern?’, we have noted down some useful advice, partly suggested by our three interviewees from the first part, which you can use as a guideline or recommendation to determine your future direction.
#1: Assess yourself personally
Let’s begin with some moments of reflection on your personality and interest by yourself. I know that you must have heard the advice to take a career test and/or personality test from literally everyone, but it is actually not a bad way to start at all! Along with the quiz, conducting a career research is also contributing to your exploration as there is a massive amount of information you can find online nowadays. One personal insight from Nora during this self-assessment process is to trust your instinct, while having the reflection: “Ask yourself what you would (not) prefer to do, and do not hesitate to trust your feeling even if it was nothing more than a hunch.”
#2: Do not hesitate to reach out
Simultaneously with personal assessment, reaching out to others for assistance is a great option as well. Some of you might seek to have a personal conversation with your close friends, which could surprise you as others might view different aspects about you that yourself was not consciously aware of. You can also try to discuss your doubt with older peers, who might be able to provide more practical help, such as insights of the industry, which company has a well-built reputation or even tips to write a good cover letter. One way or another, your conversations with others are beneficial to you in this journey.
#3 Stay away from potential causes of toxic energy
At some point during this stressful period, we tend to experience peer pressure. Hence, you would open LinkedIn to browse through profiles of your successful friends, just to make it harder on yourself. Peer pressure to a certain degree can be a motivation, however, it could quickly turn into a toxic energy. Therefore, one advice given by our friend Nick is that “whenever you are doubtful of yourself, just minimize your exposure with such content.” Instead of spending hours swiping through acquaintances who are showing off their achievements online, you can direct your energy and time towards productive acts, such as improving your CV or learning a new practical skill.
#4 You don’t need to have to future all planned out now, just go for it
Confusion and doubt might lead to a spiral of uncertainty. Therefore, the constant question “is it the right choice to make?” might prevent you from applying to that amazing internship vacancy. However, you should also keep in mind that you are allowed to make mistakes if you happen to choose the wrong path, since there is no need for a concrete answer in one’s early 20s. Overcome your initial fear and dare to try out one of the options that you note down on your career list, you won’t regret it.
As the exploration process goes on, I believe you will gather some useful information to start planning the list of career choices. One final remark that I want to share is to try to maintain a positive and open attitude towards your future. Life is full of the unexpected and there might be drawbacks even during your internships, after you have overcome your decision-making process. A sense of confusion might always return, however you would not be forever trapped in this phase of uncertainty.
Author: Rachel Nguyen
Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung
Visuals Credit: https://executivesecretary.com/