Take Some Risks in Choosing Your Career Path

Risk – a word that comes to mind when we think of entrepreneurs… or bungee jumping.

It’s not usually a concept we attribute to job searching.

But maybe we should.

After all, deciding what career path to take – determining your livelihood – is a risk. Without significant experience, how are we supposed to know what we want to do professionally for the next twenty, thirty… or fifty years?

Students have been conditioned since kindergarten to find what they love. When I was seven, my life aspirations were to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader, and a mom. (Classy… right?) While a cheer-leading career would probably have made Dad proud, I didn’t follow through with that dream.

I still didn’t have a clue what I actually wanted to do when I arrived at college. Somehow, I thought that first time walking past the “Welcome to Oregon State University” sign would finally trigger me to determine my career path.

It didn’t.

Instead, I spent my first two semesters as an undecided major, enrolling in everything from Astronomy to Yoga. When I finally chose Business as a major, it was less out of passion and more out of necessity – I had to graduate in four years.

Business was great for a while… until I had to declare an Option. Basically, my choices were Marketing, Accounting, or Entrepreneurship. Accounting was out of the question because I hatemath. I didn’t think I would be good at entrepreneurship – and, honestly, I didn’t like one of the professors who taught in that area (admittedly, not a great way to choose a course of study)

So marketing it was. I appreciated a good commercial… and figured that writing jingles and creating ads would be fun! Then I realized marketing wasn’t all about jingles and funny ads, and thought I was stuck. Something inside me said to stick with the major, and learned about the industry both inside – and outside –the classroom.

Yes, in staying with my Marketing major, I took a risk.

And because I took this risk, I fell in love with the industry – and have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I have had thus far.

My advice to current college students: when choosing your major, which will eventually lead to your early career, take a few risks. Take a course or two in something you didn’t initially think would ever interest you – talk to professors and consider their advice on just how important a major is to your future.

Contrary to popular belief, the classroom won’t teach you everything you need to know – you should also get involved in your interests outside of class, intern and read up on industry trends. So most importantly, do your research.

Then… take the risk.

** This post was originally featured on the YouTern blog

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