When I first start working with a family, I am often asked about this mysterious idea of “finding your passion.” While most of the time the question initially comes from parents, I have a feeling that the high school student is just as interested. But how do you go about discovering your passion at a younger age when your coursework is fairly prescribed, your activities are somewhat limited but what’s available to you, and you might even be experiencing a global pandemic. Ha!

Here are a few great places to start:

  • Take a course in a subject matter you have always wanted to learn more about. So many courses are now both easily accessible and free, whether for credit or not, so take the course in Marine Biology, Real Estate, Sports Management, or something else that you have always wanted to take. In addition to being enjoyable for you, these courses can also be a great way to show “demonstrated interest” in your future major and/or subject area in college applications.
  • Conduct an informational interview with someone in your network who is doing something you might be interested in. While the title might sound formal, an informational interview is really just a conversation with an industry professional to help you better understand the day-to-day of that industry.
  • Read the daily news in some form, whether that be Apple News on your phone, the family newspaper, or a Twitter feed, notice what stories capture your attention. What do you find yourself wanting to learn more about?
  • Step outside of your comfort zone in what you watch and read in your free time – What are the subjects of the movies and tv shows you find yourself watching? What are the topics of the books you read just for fun? Do you have a favorite podcast?
  • Discuss, discuss, discuss. This is important. As you progress through the steps above, try and take time to process with a family member, friend, teacher, counselor or mentor. This *discussion* is really where the discovery of passion comes together – what are you learning about yourself and your interests? How can you explore and develop these interests? How might this inform your high school experience? Your college experience?

And always feel free to reach out if I can help with any of these steps. Helping students find their passion is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work, and truly expedites success in the rest of the process.