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What Shall I Do After High School?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Sep 03, 2018

Question

As-Salamu Alekum. I just finished my high school. Now, I have to choose my career. I am interested in the research field. I want to be a physicist, but I’m also interested in politics. I also want to be a leader. I'm confused about it. I don't know what to do. I'm very good at both fields. Which one should I choose? According to Islam, what should I do?

Counselor

Answer


What Shall I Do After High School?

In this counseling answer:

“Sometimes, approaching a professional or trying to network with those with connections can do more than expected. You will gain the knowledge, the experience and the tools and resources you need to steer yourself in the right direction.”


As-Salamu ‘Aleikom,

Find Your Passion

The first advice that I will give you is to find your passion. What is it that drives you? Imagining yourself as what kind of professional brings a smile to your face? What do you really see yourself doing? What do you love to do? Simply being good at a field does not mean that it is your passion. I am sure that you have probably heard this quote before, “if you enjoy what you are doing, you have really never worked a single day your life!”

You need to find what you enjoy doing such that it does not seem a burden to you, such that it flows naturally, and you find comfort and happiness in it.

High School ≠ University

I understand that you were an excellent student in high school. However, there is a grandiose difference between high school and university. In high school, the teacher covers ½ a lesson/ class. In university, the professor covers 2-3 lessons/class. There is a considerable difference between the teaching styles, methods, and assessments. A test for which you received a mark of 90% after studying simply for a day in high school will lead you to failure if you do not study for at least a few days prior in university.

University is a test of your work ethics, your time management, your dedication, and your discipline. Not everyone is lucky to receive a degree, and not everyone is lucky and able to pursue higher/professional education afterward. Therefore, remember, when you are ambitious in such a way that you are not focused, and your desires are not straight, then you will certainly not steer yourself in the right direction.

Think of it in this way. If you plan to spend your weekend outside, you need to plan for the places you want to visit, people you want to meet and directions you need to go. However, if you are not sure, you will not really arrive at a place and enjoy your weekend.

Assess Your Personality

Believe it or not, different personalities thrive in different fields. One obvious example would be a doctor. A student who does not like to deal with blood is extremely sensitive towards any kind of injury, sickness, or disease, and does not like many interactions with different kinds of people will not be a good candidate. It will not be ideal for him/her to pursue the medical field. However, an individual can be ideal in terms of his/her personality, but may not be ideal in terms of their academic performance in the courses again is not a good candidate for medical school.

Therefore,

Passion (professional career) = personality x academic interests

Evaluate your own personality, what do you like? What kind of a person are you? Are you a critical thinker, a leader, creative, public speaker, etc.?

  • Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Sensing (S) or Intuitive (N)
  • Feeling (F) or Thinking (T)
  • Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

Here are some of the best-matched personalities and careers. These are by no means limited. Simply for you to get an idea and do your own research.

  • ESTJ: Chef
  • ISTJ: Systems administrator
  • ESFJ: Registered nurse
  • ISFJ: Kindergarten teacher
  • ESTP: Military officer
  • ISTP: Police officer
  • ESFP: Bartender
  • ISFP: Jeweler
  • ENTJ: Physician
  • INTJ: Microbiologist
  • ENFJ: Minister
  • INFJ: Veterinarian
  • ENTP: Reporter
  • INTP: College professor
  • ENFP: Landscape architect
  • INFP: Fine artist

Combine Your Passion

Although it may sound a bit different, it is completely possible to combine your interests! You will find a myriad of information on people who were successful in combining their passions and interests.

However, there is one thing you need to understand about Leadership Roles. Leadership Roles in academic fields are not gained without first building a positive, noteworthy and hardworking impression. You need to work hard and work your way up. Therefore, I suggest you research, narrow down a few topics, speak to your teachers and professors at the university, etc.

Here are a few ideas I have jotted down for you:

  1. Physicist + Department Chair
    1. Will require research on your part which will be published in good journals and will gain you the credibility that you need to reach the level
  2. Physicist + Professor (Researcher)
    1. Professors are leaders in their own ways. Perhaps you can set up your own physics laboratory, etc.
  3. Patent Officer
    1. This combines leadership and research together, and is only acquired after serious education (PhD) and valuable experience

Plant Your Foot Firm

Whatever you plan to achieve in life, be certain of achieving and have full faith. Sometimes, analogous to a road trip, the commute may have a few detours, accidents even; however, this does not mean that the destination will not arrive.

Seek Professionals

Seeking help, advice, guidance from those who inspire is a great way to obtain an insider’s view of a specific professional goal. Sometimes, approaching a professional or trying to network with those with connections can do more than expected. You will gain the knowledge, the experience and the tools and resources you need to steer yourself in the right direction.

Priority: Plan for Jannah

Although gaining worldly knowledge is important, you need to equally prioritize gaining Islamic knowledge.

Dear brother, the only predictable thing about life is the uncertainty. We can never, ever be sure about what the future will bring. It can be on our side or it can be against us. However, when we have Allah on our side, then nothing will matter. Before you plan anything, keep Allah in your mind.

Always remember to answer these questions in subconsciously when making any decisions:

  1. What does my religion say?
  2. How can I benefit others? Will my effort be used for the benefit of others?
  3. Will this please Allah?
  4. Am I preparing myself for today and tomorrow and after I die?
  5. Am I being an exemplary individual?

In the Quran, Allah says,

“Do good to others as Allah has done good to you.” (28:77)

I personally believe that this should be the motivating factor each endeavor we hope to pursue.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Madiha Sadaf

Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.

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