Finding your purpose in college

By Miranda Mowrey, Columnist

Being a junior and unable to pinpoint what on Earth I want to do with an Economics degree can be unsettling at times. For years, all I ever wanted was to be a strong and powerful businesswoman, always found in a sleek pantsuit and bright red lipstick, running from meeting to meeting with a venti coffee in one hand and a buzzing Blackberry in the other.

After spending eight months working for a financial advisor, I was forced to admit to myself that I no longer wanted the career that I craved for so long. If I organized another excel spreadsheet or filed one more piece of useless paperwork, I would shove a letter opener through my eyeball. This is when I knew it was time to reconsider my future plans.

This realization led me into a period of personal discovery and has allowed me to place more value on my personal happiness than the convenience of a safe job and life.

All of the following should hold true when it comes to choosing a personally satisfying career:  

You love it.

Casey Miller, Associate Director of Career Education and Advising at Towson University’s Career Center, helps students find and articulate their values in order to match them with a fitting career path. Anything good in life comes with its own set of negatives, so Casey makes sure to ask students, “What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to deal with?” For example, if you love the excitement of financial planning so much that you are willing to deal with plugging numbers into an excel sheet, then that is something to consider. 

You are great at it.

Once you know what you love and do not love, make sure that you focus in on something you are good at. Usually, this works out well because when someone has a passion for something, they usually put in the time and effort to become great at it.

You are paid for it.

Although I am playing the classic “do what you love, don’t think about the money” card, being able to support yourself is a must. Scientific studies show that once someone’s basic needs are met, money has no effect on happiness levels. So, as long as you are able to put food on the table, your fourth pair of Lululemon leggings probably won’t have much of an effect on your overall happiness.

The world needs it.

Studies also show that people derive the greatest happiness when they have a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. You are only on this earth one time, so make sure to leave a positive footprint.

As a college student, it is normal to change your mind and discover through experience what you love and what you do not love.

“My best advice is to always try stuff out,” said Miller. 

Upon graduating with a degree in psychology, Miller considered pursuing a PhD in neuroscience, then a career working with kids, and now finds herself happily at the Towson Career Center.

The Career Center offers one-on-one appointments, workshops and conferences that help students narrow down their career focus. Try to attend the “Life After College” conference held on Oct. 11 in West Village Commons from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Alumni, faculty and employers will be presenting on different topics about life after college (because let’s be honest, we could use a few pointers).

“The only way to know if you like something is to try it,” Miller said. 

Although I am still unsure about what I want to pursue, I am so thankful I discovered that the business world is not for me and didn’t follow through in blinding myself with a dull letter opener.

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