I recently had the opportunity to talk to a friend I hadn’t seen in over five years. During our discussion, she asked me what I did for work. This is one of my favourite questions. I love explaining how we help students find purpose.
This friend of mine is also a student, who is studying medical engineering. I mentioned that many students feel anxious when choosing a major. Right away, she understood what I meant.
‘I lived that feeling... the stress of not knowing and being afraid to make the wrong choice,’ she told me. I could actually feel the stress she had felt when choosing her program.
My friend believes in helping others. She hopes to leave her mark by helping cure Alzheimer’s. Yet, the only job titles she knows in that field of work are the ones of different doctors. My friend wants to help find a cure, but doesn’t want to be a doctor. This lack of knowledge left her feeling lost when choosing her major.
Through our conversation, I helped her realize she shouldn’t view her major as being ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Instead, she should view it as an opportunity to gain transferable skills that can help her solve challenges. This approach is called the Challenge mindset.
Solving challenges is not just about the major you choose. It's about how you use your skills to find creative solutions. Doctors help many people, but there are other career paths that allow you to help in other ways. For example, a clinical research director guides their team towards the discovery of new drugs and treatments for diseases.
In the end, she told me that she wished she could have known to focus on challenges to solve when choosing her program. I encouraged her to continue having these career conversations to build her confidence. This left me reflecting on the benefit of an impactful conversation.
Since I’ve joined SparkPath, I now see that the benefit of this conversation is helping others find their sense of purpose. As I saw my friend’s excitement grow at the knowledge of new career paths, I could feel her sense of purpose grow. Now, she too can share what she learnt with her friends. By doing so, she will contribute to flip the traditional career exploration approach.
The Challenge mindset doesn't just help students consider new challenges to solve. It also challenges their mind to think beyond a linear career path. It helps them find purpose and energy, even after one conversation. I’m already looking forward to my next powerful conversation.
Wishing you the best,
Camille from SparkPath