You are not passionate about your studies? You are not sure you have chosen the right field? You don’t see yourself working in this field later on? And you have many other doubts… Don’t worry, you are not alone! And even better, it’s not too late to change your path.

Choosing an education after high school is not easy. At about 18 years old, we don’t know ourselves perfectly yet, we let ourselves be carried away by our ideals, those of our parents, or we simply don’t have a precise idea of what interests us yet. As a result, sometimes we find ourselves in school or college, and we don’t feel like we belong at all. And that’s okay. We all need to make mistakes to move forward. They are as constructive as our successes.

However, once you are in a particular field of study, it can be difficult to reorient yourself: lack of information, lack of alternatives, fear, doubts… Let’s look at the questions to ask yourself and the paths to follow when you think about a school reorientation.

First of all, it is important to be aware that having the possibility of changing direction is a real opportunity. It is not a failure, on the contrary. Finding the courage to change direction is a testament to your motivation, and your previous years of study give you the extra baggage to succeed in your new studies. It’s not starting from scratch. Everything you have learned is yours, and you will be all the richer for it. However, you should not abuse this opportunity. This is why you must prepare your reorientation well.

1 – Why am I thinking about a career change?

It is essential to clarify what is currently not working in your studies. Indeed, knowing what does not suit you will allow you to identify more precisely what is not made for you, and thus, not to repeat the same mistakes. These reasons can be diverse and each one has its importance. It can be :

The subject of study does not interest you
The career prospects do not meet your expectations
The difficulty of the course curriculum
The pace of the courses (too fast or too light)
The framework of the courses (too supervised like a business school or a preparatory school, or on the contrary too much autonomy like in college)
Or other personal reasons (geographical location, family problems…)
None of these reasons should be considered trivial. We are talking about your life, your daily life and your future, so it must be convenient for you.

Once you have identified the reasons for your doubts, ask yourself if a reorientation seems relevant as a solution.

For example, if you like your studies but you are worried about your grades, consider reviewing your work methods, enrolling in support groups, or even accepting a repeat year to help you get back on track. A reorientation may not be the right solution in this case.

2 – What is my professional project?

If you want to change direction, it is because your current studies do not suit you. Yes, but have you taken the time to know what you would like to do? If this is not the case yet, you should ask yourself several important questions. And your experience so far should help you see more clearly than when you last made your choice:

What is the change you want to make in the world?
What profession/field do you see yourself working in later?
What are your career goals?
Do you prefer long or short studies?
What type of schooling suits you best? Very supervised or very free? Very theoretical or rather practical? Competitive or pressure-free?
How much financial investment do you want/can you make?
With these few questions you should be able to cross out several courses of study, and at the same time select a few others. These criteria will allow you to draw up an exhaustive list of your priorities, and this will be essential for your research.

3 – What are my qualities and strengths?

When you don’t find yourself in a course, your results can suffer, and moreover, your self-confidence. This is why it is important to take a moment to reflect on our strengths. These strengths can help us choose one path rather than another and give us the confidence that we may sometimes lack to take the step of reorienting ourselves.

To do this, don’t be ashamed to ask your friends and family what they think your qualities are. Think back to the subjects you did well in in previous years or in high school. Also take into account the activities in which you do well: organizing events, drawing, taking care of children…

To take more concrete action, here is a 3-step research tool:

  • Passive research: be sensitive to your daily life and to what you feel during the day
    Pleasure, troubles, difficulties, comfortable or uncomfortable situation, people who inspire us…
  • Active inner research: self-analysis
    Interests, passions, ambitions, needs

Abilities, knowledge, resources, experiences

  • External active research: observing one’s environment
    Relationships, opportunities, societal changes, trends…

Then ask yourself how to value these observations and if they are not revealing what is more or less for you.

However, keep in mind that just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you have to devote your life to it. The most important thing is that you like it and that it serves your different objectives (financial, career, personal…).

4 – With whom should I prepare my project?

It is possible that you already have an idea of what you would like to do, but that you lack information. In this case, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Guidance counselors are often present in schools, and it is their job to listen to you and suggest the different possibilities available to you. They are also qualified to inform you about competitive exams and equivalencies that may be relevant to you.

If your questions are more of a personal nature, if you are not sure where you stand at the moment, you can also contact a psychologist (from a school or other structure). His/her role is also to help you see things more clearly.

5 – Organize the different administrative steps:

As we have just seen, finding your (new) path is not easy. But once you’ve done that, the difficulties don’t stop there. When you say reorientation, you say new registration, contest, interview… And for this to happen, you have to get organized in advance. Often you will need several documents (baccalaureate certificate, INE number, previous transcripts…). Be careful to prepare everything in advance, because once the registration process is open, your new school will not be waiting for you.

In our fast-paced society, where competitiveness and productivity reign supreme, it is sometimes difficult to reorient yourself. We are afraid of “losing” time. But sometimes, extending one’s studies by a few years by starting over in a new field can also allow us to live in a much more fulfilling way the following years, and to avoid a burn out at 30. So take the time to think about yourself and your future plans, because nobody else will do it for you.