We know what choosing a degree feels like: a confusing yet thrilling crossroad with plenty of options. Let’s face it – choosing your future career can be like standing on the edge of a vast, unexplored land. All you have is a map of your future, with some vague idea of what you want to be. But with the loud “what if” scenarios playing out in your head, fear and confusion take centre stage.
Do you know what the best way out of that conundrum is? Looking deep within yourself. What do you see when you look at yourself in the mirror? A scientist itching to discover the secrets of the universe? An artist with vivid dreams? Or an advocate prepared to take up a cause close to your heart? Or is there anything else that you are passionate about or interested in? For many, it is an innate desire to improve the world. Only they don’t know how.
This article will help you investigate a wide range of career possibilities if making an impact is your ultimate goal. Together, let us dive into choosing an undergraduate degree with impact so your education serves as a tool for a better future.
Step 1: Explore the Impact Equation
When pursuing an impactful career, the first step is to assess exactly what kind of impact you seek and how you think of measuring it. An artist immersed completely in their painting, losing track of time, would consider his work impactful. A volunteer at a neighbourhood shelter, standing up for a cause they believe in, would find the activity impactful instead.
So, ask yourself your interests and how you plan on making a difference. This is what we may call the “Impact Equation” – the perfect confluence of your aspirations and the potential of a real impact.
A musician may find joy in composing pieces for social justice campaigns or music therapy programs for the underprivileged. A tech-savvy adolescent may want to build an app for sustainable living or one that helps people build community connections. An artist may want to paint the mundane streets and concrete walls of a slum to bring vibrance and joy to the urban poor or offer art therapy to uplift low minds. Each has an impact – a good ripple effect – no matter the size and scale of the effort.
Now, pause to think about what you would want to do. What would you like to pursue to lose track of time while getting a deep sense of fulfilment? Is it the excitement of new scientific discoveries? Is it comforting and supporting those in need? Understanding this initial direction will pave the way for any future decisions.
Step 2: Charting the Impactful Degree Path
Now that you have discovered what ignites your passions, it is time to go on a treasure hunt for the ideal degree. A degree that will serve as a road map for a future of meaning and impact. But where do you start?
The internet is your go-to destination. Sites such as Idealist, World Merit, and DoSomething.org offer a list of professional fields that can potentially have a significant social impact. Some top options to explore include public health, environmental science, social justice, and international development. Read articles, listen to podcasts, and watch documentaries about young people making their way into these industries.
While secondary research is a must, don’t overlook the practical aspects. Examine the employment market, expected pay scale, and possible postgraduate pathways in the field of your choice. Make sure your path is sustainable to follow your passion and create a stable, rewarding future. Remember that creating an impactful degree path is a continuous process rather than a quick fix. Accept the detours, learn from challenges, and open your mind to new possibilities.
Step 3: Look Beyond the Degree: Building an Impactful Toolbox
While your degree is a reliable guide, what really matters is the understanding and experience you acquire along the way. Beyond the technical aspects of the degree, these are some vital soft skills that go a long way in shaping your career.
First, develop your communication skills to effectively express your ideas, motivate others, and champion your cause. Next, work on your leadership skills and become adept at navigating a variety of viewpoints. Project management skills are crucial to aligning your initiatives with measurable outcomes. Finally, critical thinking will help support requirements like problem analysis and solving in your impact journey.
But don’t put off sharpening these tools until after graduation. Your impact toolbox is being built on the training ground that is high school. Participate in extracurricular activities that play to your strengths and ignite your passions. You may mentor younger students, lead a school club, or plan a fundraising event; every experience is an opportunity to improve your soft skills.
Even as a teenager, you can make a difference by getting involved in your community, helping a cause that matters to you, and witnessing its impact. Remain flexible and open to unexpected encounters and partnerships. Be the one to bring a different perspective. Always be prepared to contribute beyond the scope of your initial degree. After all, the world of impact thrives on diversity and new perspectives.
Keep in mind that your impact toolkit is never fully loaded. It’s an ongoing project that constantly changes as you gain experience, mature, and adjust. Equipped with your degree as the guide and your abilities as the implements, you’re prepared to forge your way, creating a positive impact wherever you go.
As you stand on the brink of choosing your degree, remember that this is about starting a lifelong journey where your unique talents leave a lasting positive impact on the world, and passion ignites purpose. Discover the potential buried in your passions, follow your inner fire, and master both technical and soft skills for a journey toward sustainable impact. Living a life with purpose means embracing unexplored routes, unexpected turns, and continuous change. Never forget that the world needs your special spark, creative ideas, and unwavering dedication to improving it.