When I started college I was 17 and completely clueless. My counselor recommended "Career Planning"- a class that didn't count as a college credit; a bid to make money from an uninformed consumer. I want to back to school mostly for personal enrichment, but I am bitter about the hideous money-scheming college industrial complex! Despite that, "Career Planning" was an insightful and helpful class with lessons I still find valuable. One activity I go back to is the one that's supposed to help you determine exactly what you really, truly want to do with your life.
Let's do it together.
First, imagine you have all the money you could ever possibly need. You're a multi-billionaire. Money is no object.
Next, imagine you have every degree you could ever need. Your college is covered, there is no obstacle stopping you from doing what you want to do.
What would you do with your time, you, the billionaire in possession of every college degree there is?
Don't be shy here, don't lie to yourself. If you've always desired to be a dolphin trainer, NASA worker, or just a stay-at-home mom or humble crafter, contemplate it. Don't think about what you'd buy, think about how you'd occupy your time. Would you paint, take additional classes for fun, travel?
That activity, those things, are what you truly want to do for a living. Many people go to school for high-paying jobs because they want, or need, lots of money. Many choose work they hate, just to make money. A quote that sticks out from me about this phenomenon of life-long suffering for money we won't have time to spend working 40+ hours a week was spoken by Billionaire Jackie Siegel in The Queen of Versailles. The only place where she could work and make money in her small town was IBM, so she went to school and earned her degree in computer engineering because she refused to be anybody's secretary. She occupied a sad cubicle in a big building full of them and notes that a colleague was making a program to count down his retirement, years down the line, down to the second, he said that's when he'd begin "living his life". She quit and pursued her modeling dreams immediately after.
If I was a billionaire I'd write content, take photos, travel, craft, make art, attend school for enrichment and help causes I'm passionate about. All things I do now. I would have more peace-of-mind and less stress with more money, but it wouldn't change my goals or direction. I feel like I'm on the right life path.
What would you do? Because that's what you should do.
Note: I also wrote about Career Planning in this post where my teacher mailed out "letters from ourselves" 6 years later! And I still want to write/edit for publications...