A Career Decision That Turned into $80,000 in Debt

A parent shared with me that her first child, John, always wanted to be an anesthesiologist. Ever since he was in middle school, John was sure that was the career he wanted. The parents felt confident about his choice because that was what he wanted to do for so many years. So, their son went to college to be an anesthesiologist. But, a couple years into college, he realized he didn’t like anesthesiology. There were parts of the studies and the career John didn’t love. He just wasn’t interested in pursuing it anymore. He had a side job in sales that he really liked and decided to change his major to business. John now has a career in sales that he loves but is in $80,000 in college debt from starting his path in anesthesiology.

This parent contacted me because they wanted to make sure they didn’t make the same mistake with their second son.

How can you as a parent help your child avoid the same mistake? When they say, “I know what I want my career to be in. I am sure of it.” How can you feel more assured of their decision? Here are some easy tips for you:

  • Tip 1: Have your child talk to people currently working in their career of interest. This is an excellent opportunity for your child to find out what it’s like to work in that field. They can find out the schooling required, what a typical day is like, and tasks that are part of the job that they may not like so much. I recently connected a student interested in voiceover acting with someone in that field. It turns out there is a voice actor convention in a few weeks where she can attend and learn more.
  • Tip 2: Find out what courses are required to achieve a degree in that major. If John had done that, he would have realized much sooner that he didn’t want to be an anesthesiologist and wouldn’t be $80,000 in debt.
  • Tip 3: Have your child take a career assessment. This is very beneficial for kids who have no idea what they want to do, or if you want to make sure your child is picking a career they will enjoy.  There are many different career assessments. You want to make sure your child takes one that is linked to data based on actual jobs.  Contact me at laurie@myidealcollege.org if you want to learn more about using a career assessment to help your child.

In the end, your child’s career decision may stay the same, and that is great. You will have more confidence in their education and career path.  After following these tips, your child may decide they want to pursue a different career that is more aligned with what they naturally like to do. This is great news because you potentially saved yourself and your child future debt from heading down the wrong path.

It’s a win-win situation.

Does your child a have an interest in a career but doesn’t know anyone in that field? Feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to try to help connect them with a professional in their area of interest.

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