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Choosing a Career Path that Isn't What You Went to College for

Julia Tucker

Posted on February 4, 2021 17:24

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Decide what matters the most to you, do what makes you happy, and embrace the fact that you have discovered your purpose, even if it is after you have earned a degree in a different field.

If you find yourself following a different career path than what you studied for several years, you are not alone. Sometimes life reveals our purpose or passions to us later than we expected, and it ends up being something entirely different than what we had in mind. The feeling of "why did I spend all these years earning this degree" may never fade, but you can learn to embrace where you are now in life.

Soon after graduating, I learned that my true passion was in writing. I found myself in a dilemma because I had a master's degree in social and public policy, yet no desire to pursue this type of career anymore. All I could think about was the years that I put into studying one thing, and how I no longer wanted to go in that direction. Instead, I thought long and hard about it and realized my purpose and passion. Sure, it did seem too late to be realizing this because I had already earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, but I could not just ignore what I enjoy and wanted to do with my life.

I did not decide to just throw out my background and skills and pretend that I didn't know anything about social and public policy. Instead, I found a way to integrate my knowledge in policy with my passion in writing, which helped me come to terms with what I truly wanted to do as a career.

Throughout the last few years that I have been writing for various companies, I have noticed that a policy background has been helpful and provided me with the credibility needed to write about certain topics that I otherwise may have not been considered for. My degree program also taught me the necessary steps of writing, as writing policies is a huge part of studying social and public policy.

If anyone finds themselves in a similar situation, my advice is to decide what matters the most to you, do what makes you happy, and embrace the fact that you have discovered your purpose. When interviewing or considering a new career, take time to figure out how your education and skills can relate to the position you are interested in. It is okay to feel nervous or confused about going after something you had no plans of, but you should remain true to yourself and what you would like to spend your days doing.

While it has been difficult to pursue something different than what I spent years studying, I have no regrets. My educational experience taught me many critical skills which can easily be used in any career field. Some days I think about how I wish I would have studied English or writing, but the doors my background in policy has opened are incredible.

Julia Tucker

Posted on February 4, 2021 17:24

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