There are three types of education that generally lead to careers:
The key in picking a path is to know yourself, your talents, and your interests. Common advice used to be “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Perhaps better advice would be to recognize that whatever you do, it’s going to take work. By finding an industry that matches your skill set, you can learn to love the work.
How do you begin? First, gather information. Make a list of your interests and the school subjects you do well in. Then ask your parents, friends, and leaders what they think you would be good at. Pray for guidance. As you really look hard at what you would like to do, don’t forget to rely on your Heavenly Father for direction.
Next, make some visits. If you’re interested in auto mechanics, stop by a local car shop and ask questions like the following: “What is the best way to start? What are the best trade schools?” Don’t be afraid to look at a lot of options.
If you go to college, try out classes that give you exposure to a number of areas of work. According to U.S. News and World Report, few 18-year-olds know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives.
After exploring various fields, pick something you can get excited about. “‘The tough idea for students today to grasp is that they can choose to study something that they are passionate about, an academic area that they love, without knowing what vocational path that might lead to,’ says Carmen Varejcka-McGee, an academic adviser at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. ‘Many students get stuck on the idea that they have to have a clear vocational goal in order to choose a major’” (Burnsed, “5 Ways”).
The next steps are to continue to pray that you are on the right path and to work hard. The confirmations you may receive from the Spirit will keep you motivated, and as you focus on doing your best, your study habits will improve. It’s easy to get discouraged, but remember that getting a good education and working your way up in life requires sacrifice.
President Gordon B. Hinckley encouraged young adults to:
No matter what you are studying, there are habits students should develop to become effective learners:
Lastly, trust that God has a plan for you. You bring talents and abilities to this earth that are for your and others’ good. Your Heavenly Father knows what they are; trust that He will help you. Spend time after your prayers listening for guidance.
President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled:
Whatever your education path may turn out to be, make it work for you.