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College 101

Interests

What floats your boat? What do you save up for? What would you work all day at for free? What does your internet browsing history look like? …wait maybe we shouldn’t ask.

The answers to these questions might just provide some clues as to your interests. They may also provide clues as to who killed Colonel Mustard, but we should stick with interests here.

These interests are a starting point for what you might like to do for a career, and then you can Make a Plan with Shmoop to get you there. But wait. What if you only read gossip magazines or manga?  Spend your days playing video games or Facebook?  What if the only thing you use newspaper for is to line your hamster cage?

Calm down.  Even those interests can be worked with, although it would have been easier if you just loved reading medical guides.  But we can still work with gossip and manga.

Where to start?  There are lots of great resources out there, but it’s best to begin with an understanding of what jobs intersect with your interests.  What do you love working with on a high level: people, ideas, data or things?  Some jobs may work with just one of those, some may work with all, or a combination of two or three.

If you’ve never had a job, think about your school experience.  Are you fascinated by the social grouping patterns in your high school lunch room? Did you flunk gym because you were too busy checking kickstarter to kick a ball?  Were you too busy engraving your new bookshelf to talk to the girl next to you at woodshop? In the hallways, do you look people in the eyes and does everyone know your name, or do you hug the lockers and try to go unnoticed?  

If you have had a job, what did you love about it and what did you hate? Did you hate having a boss or did you get along with everyone?  Did you enjoy your work with people more than stocking shelves?  Could you sit at a computer all day crunching numbers?

This is important stuff, and can help you decide if you work best with people, things, ideas or data. Once you have a good idea of your answer, check out the World of Work map here and begin exploring some of the Careers that fall in your interest areas.

Another way to go about this is to take advantage of the loads of Interest Surveys that are out there. They are all pretty similar, and will ask you a bunch of thinly-veiled questions, each suggesting an aspect of a particular field or career. You will rank phrases like “Drive Heavy Machinery” and “Research a Cure for a Disease” as being “Very Interesting” or “Shoot Me in the Head Please”. Or something like that.

Take a few surveys and see what they say.  Remember, these will never tell you what you should do for a career, but rather some careers which may match your interests.  Here are a couple Shmoop favs:

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