Ask the intern: I don’t know what to do with my life

“Hi Fiona, I know this may sound like a strange question and I realize that you won’t be able to give me an exact answer, but I’m hoping you can help. Basically, I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know what I want to do in the future. I’m not exactly sure what career I want. This means that I have no idea about what jobs I should look for, or where to start looking online. I know that you can’t tell me what I should decide to do, but I was hoping that maybe you had some advice.”– Thomas

Hi Thomas, thanks so much for getting in touch! Deciding what you want to do in the future and what road you want to take can be really tough. It may seem like you only have one chance to make this decision, but your path in life will constantly evolve and change. The best advice I can give you is to ask yourself the following questions. That way you can start to build yourself a picture of your future.

1. What do you love to do in your free time?

This is extremely important. The things that you do for fun give you a huge insight into what you would enjoy in a career. If you love to write, read, paint, build computers, do DIY, this will show you what sort of things that you would love in a job. Say, for example, you love to write your blog on the weekends, maybe you should think about a career where your journalistic skills will be appreciated. If you love to build computers, why not think about looking at jobs in IT? If you love to paint and create things, why not look into creative jobs? This could be anything from being an artist to applying your creative mind to advertising or media, the options are endless.

A great way to go about this is to write down the things that you enjoy doing and extract the specific skills you use in each activity. You can then search for jobs that will require these skills.

2. What are you good at?

This can be a difficult one to answer, but it’s incredibly important. Being able to pinpoint your strengths is an important skill which will help you for the rest of your career. Are you a people person? A problem solver? Are you good at practical work? You can add these things to your list of things that you enjoy and begin to create the profile of your perfect job. This is a job you will love and also be incredibly successful at.

I don't know what to do with my life

3. What environment can you see yourself working in?

The kind of environment that you thrive in is different for each person. Some people prefer a relaxed, chilled out office environment, whereas others thrive on competitiveness and pressure. This is entirely a personal preference. If you have never experienced a professional working environment, think about what kind of environment you learn or study best in. You can then test out your theory by doing an internship in this kind of company, and see what you think. I’m sure that you will love it.

4. Do you want to travel?

Do you have the travel bug? Or do you just want to experience everything the world has to offer? As the world becomes more globalized and organizations have offices all over the world, more and more jobs allow you to travel. If you want to work in Asia, Europe, or the USA, you have those opportunities. Think about a career which has an international reach. Maybe even learn a language to put yourself ahead of your monolingual peers. The world is out there for you to explore. So where is next on your wanderlust list?

I don't know what to do with my life

5. Do you want to work in a team? Are you more practical or theoretical?

All jobs are different. Some jobs are focused on individual work, whereas others revolve around group projects and teamwork. Think about which of these things would most suit your style of working. Many jobs are a combination of the two. Some people prefer to be practical and physically create things, whereas others thrive on theoretical ideas. Whichever you think you would prefer, add this to your piece of paper. You should hopefully have a relatively detailed profile now of your perfect job.

6. Who do you admire? And why?

Who is your ultimate idol? Do they have your dream job? Who is exactly where you want to be in ten years? Thinking about who you think is the pinnacle of success may give you some more ideas of what you would enjoy. Think about who has achieved what you want to achieve and how they got there. A lot of the time these people may be your family members or family friends. These people can be a great resource. Ask them how they got to where they are today and if they have any advice for you.

The best advice I can give you is: don’t panic. You have so much time. Inevitably we will all at some point find ourselves in a job that we don’t like, but this can be a great thing. As you try out jobs and internships you will shape your skills and find out what you truly enjoy. Life is never a straight road, but that’s the exciting thing about it.

Now that “I don’t know what to do with my life” is a distant memory for you, apply for an international internship today and kick-start your career with the adventure of a lifetime.

Photos

1. based on /ponder, by hobvias sudoneighm, CC BY 2.0

2. based on jigsaw puzzle pieces, by Electric-Eye, CC BY 2.0

3. based on travel, by fdecomite, CC BY 2.0

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

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Fiona Johnson

Fiona studies Spanish and Italian and is currently on her year abroad in Latin America. She is working with the marketing team for The Intern Group in Santiago until January, when she hopes to travel South America before starting work in Italy. She is hoping to explore everything Chile has to offer and experience the vibrant culture, food and nightlife of Santiago.
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18 Comments

  1. Sara on March 18, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Interesting article. I’m 26 and I still don’t know what to do with my life. I’m desperate. Only thing I know is that I wanna return to the states. I lived and worked as an Au pair in Oakland, CA. Best place I ever been. Really wish I could live there.
    I just know that I really love languages tho…
    maybe I’m just a hopeless case.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on March 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Hi Sara, would you be interested in an internship program in Chicago or New York? We also have a California program opening soon and we can keep you updated when applications officially open. We look forward to hearing from you! Warm regards



  2. Gigi on April 22, 2018 at 12:01 am

    I don’t know why to do with my life. I am a problem solver and I like photography and filming. I want a career with no math and little science and I don’t know what career to pick.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on April 25, 2018 at 8:56 pm

      Hi Gigi, it sounds like you have great skills and interests to bring to an international internship. Our admissions team would be happy to guide you toward a career path and see what opportunities are available to you. We’ll send some additional information to your email. Warm regards



  3. Taro on April 28, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Hello, I just graduated from University. I have been doing many internships but I cannot picture myself doing the things that I have done in the internship for my career. I speak Japanese and English and I would say I am culturally aware. I read this and all I think now is what am I good at and what makes me happy. My passion is to find something new and learn. Always wanted to be unique and I am trying to find something based on my passion.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on May 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Taro, thanks for your comment! There are a lot of people that feel this way and one of the reasons why people pursue an international internship is so they can be inspired and find something they’re passionate about. We’ve sent you an email with additional information about our program. Warm regards



  4. Jack smyth on May 16, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Hello
    I am 21 from the uk and am stuck on what to do
    I love the idea of relocating for work or even a volunteer role, I just feel like I am stuck in a rut
    I have always had interests in ancient history and once had planned to attend university but then found myself unable to stick to a theoretical type of life and always preferred the practical aspects of life
    Thanks.
    Jack .



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on May 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Hi Jack, thanks for your comment! We sent you a message with more information about our international opportunities. Kind regards



  5. Maria on August 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Hi, I loved this article. I am almost 21 and this year I am going to be a senior in college. The thing is that I don’t love what I’m majoring in, nor do I hate it, which makes me think if I should continue on this path. I am a really creative, artsy person, who enjoys music, video editing, problem solving, marketing and PR. I really love helping people, finding solutions to problems, create banners, flyers, promotional content in general. I don’t live in the States, I’m actually in Europe, but I could really need an advice on what I should try to do. Thank you in advance!



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on October 15, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      Hi Maria, thanks for reaching out! We have an article that might give you some more guidance, it’s called “What can I do with my major?” and you can find that here: http://bit.ly/2pTDyfp. Our admissions team would also be happy to talk to you about your different professional interests and recommend some career fields for you for an international internship. You can find the application form here: http://bit.ly/2Kmp13F. Warm regards



  6. Manuel Diaz Jr on September 5, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Hello, I’m 16 years old and I’m a junior in high school. I honestly do not know what I want to do with my life after highschool and i do not know what career i want to have. I really need some help at where I want to start and what I want to do. I really need some advice. Thanks.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on September 18, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Manuel, thanks for reaching out. Would you ever consider going abroad for an internship to learn more about which career path might interest you? You might also find our “What can I do with my major?” blog article helpful: https://www.theinterngroup.com/our-blog/what-can-i-do-with-my-major/. If you’d like to apply to our program, you can find the application form here: http://bit.ly/2Kmp13F. Warm regards



  7. Daniel on September 15, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I’m 27. I’ve spent most of my life in depression (and still haven’t really gotten rid of it). I’ve never had love. I’ve never had passion. I’m a uni dropout. I’m a self-taught software dev, but deep inside I feel it isn’t for me, and the only reason why I work IT/Software dev, is because I know how to do it. I have no idea. I’m as clueless as a teen. It’s mindboggingly frustrating. I’d love to start over; like, go to another country (maybe USA?), and start college. But I wouldn’t even know what to study. Research sounds interesting, but chances are slim to get in there, especially when starting at my age – I’d need a doctorate in a subject I am not even able to choose, and at least a decade of time! I’m a decade late and I hate it.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on September 18, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment! Have you ever considered going abroad for an internship? Our program is valuable for both students, graduates, and professionals of any level. We’ve placed anywhere from a gap year student with no working experience to a Harvard MBA graduate in our programs. Interns are placed with a role and company based on their background, experience level and future career ambitions. If you’d like to move forward, you can submit your application form here: http://bit.ly/2Kmp13F and we’d be happy to discuss the available opportunities. Best regards



  8. Breanna on September 22, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    I’m 18 and I just graduated high school back in june. I currently don’t go to college or work cause I’m depressed. I Feel like everything I want to do I’ll just fail at it so I don’t even try to accomplish them. I know im still young but I want big things in life. I wanna travel and explore the world. I just don’t know what career I want.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on October 15, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Hi Breanna, thanks for your comment! An international internship might be a good way to find out what career field you might be interested in. If you’d like to discuss some of these opportunities, we invite you to submit your application form here: http://bit.ly/2Kmp13F. Warm regards



  9. Calista on October 1, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    I’m 20 years old, almost 21 and currently in my “third” year of college. I wanted to do accounting for the longest time and stuck with it for 2 years until I realized I didn’t want to be a CPA or pursue that career anymore. I was always interested in computers and solving problems with a computer, but not sure where to go with that. I’m not the strongest in math, but I love learning about certain topics like how computers work, how to solve certain situations on a computer, and I love playing video games. I’m a loyal person and can be dedicated to doing things in a job. I can be really passionate about something if its what I want to do or if I’m good at it. There’s a whole list. I’m not sure what I want to do anymore and it’s very frustrating to me because my grades are sinking due to being upset over it and I’m terrified of not being able to find want I want to do in college and not be able to pay of my debt.



    • Gabrielle Trasatti on October 3, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Calista, it sounds like you’d enjoy an IT/Computer Science internship! We offer first-class roles across all sectors of IT & Computer Science in companies of all sizes, from corporates to exciting start-ups. We have previously placed successful candidates in roles specializing in app and website development, software engineering, and database design and management in all of our destinations.

      If you’d be interested in seeing what kinds of opportunities we have available, you can submit an application here: http://bit.ly/2Kmp13F.

      Cheers!