Fear, Confusion, and Change- A Search for Answers

It’s hard to think that your choice of study may have been the wrong choice. Some common thoughts are: “maybe I’ve enrolled myself into a program that I thought would give me a good shot at a well-paying job” or “maybe I enrolled into a program for the passion I have for the subject despite knowing the job opportunities are slim”. Sometimes we only realize that we may have made a mistake only after receiving our degrees and entering the work-force. If you’re in one of these places right now you’re probably feeling trapped or anxious. But hey, a semester just came to an end and you owe it to yourself to search for some clarity in all this…Today I want you to use the courses you have taken, or courses you will be taking next semester as tools to help you figure out what you want from your career— or what you thought you wanted as a career, and what your next move should be.

Core Classes

Think about the core classes you’ve taken so far, or a course you will be taking soon. Read the title and the description. Does it interest you? If the answer is no, ask yourself why not? And how does this information shed some light on why you feel discouraged by your program of study? Is it that they are not meeting your expectations? Or you feel that you aren’t growing from it as much as you thought you would? We can’t always control the core classes we take, but we can control the electives we choose — this is where you can start to make important changes for yourself.

Elective Classes

Look at your elective courses. Yes, many of us take courses because we hear they’re easy. But sometimes, a course catches your eye and you feel compelled to take that course. In fact, I really encourage you to do your best to take a course you feel you are most drawn toward, but stay away from holding on to expectations. Maybe the title is catchy, or maybe the course description is enough to peak your curiosity. Is there an elective course you took and really enjoyed? Ask yourself why you enjoyed it so much.

In my case, it was a counselling class I took. I enjoyed this course so much because it gave me insight into the many ways we can help someone through difficult times. The content resonated with me, but I had to put the work in to figure out why it resonated with me— exactly why I liked this course and the content. Using the word “interesting” is too vague. —What made it interesting for me? If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I love helping others! So I started from this point. I started with the idea that I know I generally like to help people. But help how? So, I started looking more closely into the word of counselling and realized that I could take myself in a new direction and leverage what I now know about counselling to explore the world of coaching. – Yes, it’s scary to think that I’m putting myself on track to leave what I thought I loved (teaching) for something new, but I’m staying open-minded. I’m thinking that maybe I misunderstood myself all this time and that I really just wanted a career where I could be as helpful as I can be to others who need guidance – and I thought that teaching would be the right path…and I know I’m probably not the only one going through a crisis like this.

So, consider your courses. Look into the qualities of the subject matter from a course you really enjoyed. It could help you learn a thing or two about yourself. Maybe you’re realizing that you had qualities you never thought would be useful for a career. Look at the courses you’ve taken and ask yourself if this course interests you because of some of the qualities it draws out of you. Then, let those qualities guide you in a direction where you feel you could be most useful. Ask yourself: What are you really hoping to give on a daily basis? What do you want to do —for others, or for yourself? And don’t say “happiness”. Happiness is too vague, and it’s an emotion. I want you to think of action words. —In my case, it’s encourage and support others to find their paths, or to put themselves on track to something great, fulfilling and healthy.

Here’s some free resources for you to grab!

  • If this kind of introspection doesn’t come naturally for you, I’ve create a stencil you can fill out, or print out and fill to help you get your thoughts down. Besides, they say that writing things down helps to make sure they eventually get done. So, feel free to use this freebie as needed. Grab it here  A Start to Career Clarity. I also welcome your feedback! If you have ideas for improving the sheet, please let me know in the comments.


Another helpful hint is to read through the syllabus of a course and read through the course objectives and outcomes to see if any of the outcomes resonate with your goals or hopes for your career.

Bottom line: You need to learn to see your strengths as tools. Sometimes, you need to take these tools and find creative ways to use them in order to make them useful to you. Let them become what you do with your life.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.