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Asking for a Friend: “What Should I Do with My Life?”

Sep 25, 2020

This feature will be recurring with questions on career related topics, industry insight and our services. If you have a question that you would like featured on this blog, please email with the subject line “Asking for a Friend.”

Dear Career Services,

I feel stuck! It seems like everyone has figured out what they want to do with their major, but I’m at a crossroads and overwhelmed by options. How do I figure it out? How do I know which path I should take and what to do to move my life forward?

Dear Student,

Unlike other career questions we receive, this one is not easy to search on the internet. However, don’t let that feeling drag you down - you’re not alone! We hear from many students that they feel stuck in their career decisions. To be uncertain is to be human, and most people have pondered their career path, finding their passion, or what they’re meant to do at some point. The good news is that the Career Services team is here to share their advice. Read on for the best tidbits about what steps to take next.

1. Reach Out and Talk to People

Who’s in your network that can connect you with someone in a career of your interest? Identify a friend, relative, New York Tech staff or faculty member, or alumni or industry professionals via LinkedIn. Craft a well-written request for a coffee chat (aka informational interview), or just 10 minutes of their time to learn what work that position takes on a day-to-day basis. And if you listen between the lines, you can gain insight into their story - their motivations, ambitions, dreams and how they got to where they are today.

2. Seek Inspiration from Others

Learn from those who have already reached their goals. Luckily, this doesn’t have to break the bank or cost you a new degree. Check out this list of 30 things to read, watch, listen to and do to help you navigate this age-old question.

3. Do Something!: Intern, Volunteer and Get Creative

Internships are definitely worthwhile if you’re almost certain you’ve found a path to invest your time. However, you do not need an entire summer to explore what works for you. Volunteering on weekends or twice a month is just as valuable to experiencing how an industry operates in real life. The Consultants for the Public Good Program connects students with non-profit and government partners to put their skills into action to complete specific projects, which often overlap with their major.

In addition, don’t be afraid to start your own side hustle. Curate a portfolio, launch a personal blog, learn how social media algorithms work - or really anything! Even if you are unsure it’s the right thing, the actual act of doing provides momentum - an opportunity to experience - and will help you clarify what paths to pursue.

4. Be Okay with Failures and Prepare for the Long Haul

One misconception about figuring out your career path is that you will have a sudden, magical epiphany and then be able to plan your entire life.

In reality, our lives shift constantly, and college is the time to learn, experiment, and fail in a safe environment. We need to remain flexible and reconsider your journey as you go along.

Remember: We’re here for you, no matter where you are in your career exploration process. Schedule a virtual appointment with a career advisor via Handshake to discuss other ways you can continue to develop your career from the comfort of your couch.

By: Sam Mon, Assistant Director, Career Services