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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Looking inward: What I learned from college



As difficult as it may be, before you decide on a major or your career direction, you must ignore everything and everyone with the exception of this blog, of course.  Tim Ferris, author of the best-selling career advice book The Four Hour Work Week, advises everyone to minimize the superfluous information that many of us commonly digest on a daily basis.  That means limit the social networking, the celebrity gossip, the fashion magazines, and the reality shows.  By cutting down on “mental junk food,” you enable your mind to be able to focus on you.  Before you can make this important decision about your life and future, you must be cognitively clear and ready to learn about yourself.
Examining Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, social scientists agree that human beings have basic needs:  food, shelter, clothing (physiological), safety and social interactions (friends and family).  After those basic needs are met, humans begin to ponder the deep, reflective questions in life:  “What is my purpose on Earth?”  That is the level of thinking and internal-searching you must endure to reach an authentic picture of yourself.
Thus, you will want to focus on your intrapersonal awareness.  Answer the following questions:  
    • Who am I?
    • What is my calling?
    • What is the recurring theme of my life?
Next, you want to focus on your personality traits.  Answer the following questions:  
    • Am I an introvert or an extrovert?
    • Do I respect authority?  Do I like taking directions?
    • Do I need structure or do I desire total autonomy and freedom?
The third area of focus is your skills and abilities.  Answer the following questions:
    • What talents do I possess?
    • What skills do people recognize that I possess?
    • What abilities do I enjoy doing?  
    • What do I love to do?  
Lastly, you should write down your dreams, visions, and goals.  Answer the following questions:
    • If money was not a factor because you had all the money you would ever need, what would  you do as a career?
    • What are your personal and family values?
    • What career would reflect the lifestyle you want to live?  
Answer the aforementioned questions will give you a clear look at who you are.  Highlight a few skills, values, and traits you possess.  Pick a major and potential career that would reflect your authentic self.  
On the contrary, you will encounter many peers that do not know what they want to do with their lives.  You are ahead of the game.  Remember that this is a process that you constantly revisit.  As you grow older, your interests, personality, and skills may change.  Aim to stay in tuned with yourself and make adjustments accordingly.  Continue to reach towards self-actualization, and be comfortable in the decisions you make.  Your destiny is controlled by you, not the economy, not the weather, and not your degree.  The most important lesson I learned from college was self-discovery.


Additionally, I have exciting news.  I am now writing for Parentsandcolleges.com, a resource for parents of college bound students. Please, come visit the site.  

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