Fear of failure and not "fitting in" in career choice..

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    So I recently decided to change my major to Communications from Psychology (I am a sophomore at a Community college). I thought it was the right thing to do given the wide job market, increased chance for promotion/better pay, less schooling, less debt, more time for myself (travel, family, friends). However, I have a deep fear and extreme anxiety that I made the wrong choice and that I’m taking the “easy” way out, and kind of cutting myself short of my goals (Always thought it would be cool to be a sports psychologist, write a book, speak at a TED conference..but then again it would be awesome to work for the business or communications part of Nike or ESPN). I’m scared I won’t fit in, be social enough, or just not be good at my job. I am so worried that I will get stuck with a job I don’t like, and be in a career where I don’t feel like myself. But on the other hand, I haven’t even really tried out a job in Communications (I hope to get an internship for experience this fall). Maybe I’m judging too fast? I feel like I have no idea what I want to REALLY do with my life..

    How do you figure out what you want and who you are in terms of career??

    • This topic was modified 9 years, 6 months ago by Amanda.
    Beth Maree

    Hi Amanda,
    I will tell you that I did just as you are doing. I switched from a major I was passionate about to one that offered greater job security. Ugh. I never used it. My strategy back fired and I found myself unemployed with a new college degree.
    What I do know.
    College is a time to discover yourself. Take a variety of classes and find out what you like. If you pursue what you like- opportunities will come.
    Lots of jobs just want a 4 year degree to show you know how to read and write. So if you find a job you want to apply for in a different field, go after it.
    Experience is the best. A college degree and job experience are your greatest assets. While you are in college, try some jobs. See what you really like. Then build some experience in that field even if you don’t have a degree in that subject. Your ability to perform the job will shine through with your passion.
    Life is long. Take your time. People feel stuck because they “just settle.” Take an extra year if you have to and get to know your joys. Life is soooo much better doing something you love.


    Unfortunatly, it is impossible to decide what we really want. The only way to see if you like something is to do it. It’s a trial and error process- some people are lucky and find a passionate career early on and others take decades to get their.

    I’m undergoing the same problem. I had a passion for science and philosophy, but instead took an engineering degree for job security. I found I didn’t really like engineering and secretly longed to do something cool (like studying black holes, creation of the universe, etc), not working construction. Instead I took a graduate degree to do research in environmental engineering (water management) to see if I have a passion for research. I found I really did not fit in and got a bit bitter over everything. Then I realized something… I enjoy teaching. I always felt exhilerated when tutoring math/stats/physics or teaching labs. I made a choice- I will teach.

    Now that I have a degree (and hopefully my masters degree soon) I can get a TESL. A scientific or professional oriented english speaker is greatly desired in Japan to teach english to professionals there. I now have a plan- I will teach English overseas.

    The moral of the story- I did something I didn’t like, but still found something I liked that I never knew I would like.

    It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are open to experimenting. Maybe you will find something you really like outside of psych or communications by accident. Or maybe you will find a really exciting job in communications. Or maybe you could combine psychology and communications to something else. Don’t give up!


    From my experience, look at your resume and see what stands out. For instance, have you interned in a certain type of place. Look for patterns in your resume. Additionally, find out where your passion is. What do you love to do in terms of your career. Sometimes what you love to do, and you have experience in is what would be the best fit for you. Explore your options. Talking to career counselor would also help.


    Lovelyn Bettison

    I ended up majoring in something that didn’t really interest me in college because I was too afraid to major in what I really wanted to do. I actually changed my major three times when I was in school. In the end I ended up getting a job that had nothing to do with anything I majored in.

    I understand being afraid of making the wrong choice and second guessing yourself. Even though you may feel like this decision could potentially ruin your life, in reality it probably won’t. Jobs can be temporary and so are majors. If you give communications a try and don’t like it, you can do something else. You’ll only know if it’s right for you if you try it though. If you really think you’re just playing it safe by choosing communications, switch back to psychology. Playing it safe and settling usually leaves to disappointment.

    No matter what you choose, remember that it’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to try something new. That’s the beauty of life. You find what you are truly passionate about by sampling different things.

    Good luck.

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