Changing Your Mind at College ( Concerning Careers and Majors)

June 28th, 2018



It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that the career you dreamed about growing up might not be the right fit for you.

A good friend of mine spent two years making almost nothing as a sound engineer before coming to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to be able to make it as a musician. Nowadays he’s an incredibly successful, classically trained, chef working in midtown Manhattan. Another friend was convinced they wanted to be an electrical engineer until they hit their third year of college, slogging through coursework, and realized they much preferred physics.

But how do you get from point A to point B – from recognizing that you’re unhappy or unsuccessful to actually pivoting? I can tell you as a tech entrepreneur, I ask myself this question half a dozen times a year, and many lean startup methodologies teach you to learn to recognize what isn’t working (fail often, fail early) and pivot: use the momentum you’ve built and pull forward what is working.

For my musician-turned-chef friend, he pulled forward his creativity, his desire to make existing arrangements his own, and his enthusiasm for experimenting with new compositions – to shift from music to cooking. The two fields are both creative outlets, with similar conceptual structures (ex: following sheet music vs. following a recipe).

Being flexible in how you achieve the type of life you want will keep you moving forward, even when you face blockers.  Let’s take another example, imagine that you always dreamed of saving lives as a doctor:
The Medical Doctorate

A doctor is in training for ten years (including residency programs). The training is extensive, exhausting, stressful, and can be expensive. But what happens if the process burns you out physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially? You don’t have to give up on a career in the medical field entirely, you still have options for saving lives, it’s not all or nothing.

Consider Becoming a Nurse

Comparatively, nurses only need a four-year degree to work in a hospital; it’s still a heavy course load and a serious degree choice. You may find that you enjoy having a more consistent and direct line to patients, and you still get to witness powerful moments and save lives.

Look Into Being a CNA

A CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, is a critical part of any hospital. CNAs don’t go to school for more than a few weeks, depending on the program, and they’re in constant demand. As a CNA, you’re trained to care for patients’ basic needs, like bathing, making sure they have water, and drawing blood for examinations. CNAs have a tough job, but an important one, and it’s one of the best short-degree jobs available.

Delve Into Healthcare Administration

Hospitals need to be managed just like any other large-scale operation. This is one of the most critical and impactful jobs within a hospital or medical facility. A healthcare administrator acts as a hospital’s manager, and if you’re interested in hospital work, a job as a healthcare administrator could be right for you. After getting a four-year degree, you could even set yourself apart from the competition by earning a Masters in HR Management degree online.

Life doesn’t have to be a linear path and, for most people, it won’t be. Take time to be self-aware, acknowledge what you want and what you enjoy. You can always pivot and apply the skills you’ve gained in new ways.


Anthony Masterton is a young entrepreneur trying to break through in the tech world. When he’s not working on growing his young startup, he writes about everything from tech advancements to his own experiences as a young CEO. A self-starter, he likes to help others learn from his own successes and failures, as it’s always most impactful to learn from experience.

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