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How can you know you like doing something if you have never done that before?

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C-14

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I hope everyone is doing great :)

So, the reason why I am creating this post is because I was just sitting with my dad and we were talking about college. He was advising me to study "what I like." To which led me to the question of how can I like something that I have never tried before? For example, how can I know I like being an engineer if I have never done things that engineers do?
Also has anyone gone to the university of Upenn Wharton? if you went there to study Entrepreneurship did you find what they taught there useful? I'm trying to see if I can somehow; please my parents with the whole "you got to go to college thing" while still learning stuff that is useful in Entrepreneurship.
 

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My personal philosophy is to try a lot of different things to see which one you can become proficient at. Competence leads to passion, not the other way around.

Why are you living to please your parents? It's your life - you have to do what's in your best interest. And it sounds as though school isn't a part of that.
 

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how can I know I like being an engineer if I have never done things that engineers do?
Your dad advised you to *study* what you like.

Studying engineering isn’t the same as being an engineer.

I’d say your dad is onto something. You’re more likely to finish if you like the subject.
 

Ernman

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C-14 my first recommendation is relax and ask yourself what you do like. Be honest with yourself and don't worry about what anybody else - including all of us - will think. This is your life.

In your post you mention, "study Entrepreneurship." That can mean anything from business courses to marketing to engineering to science and the list goes on. Entrepreneurship is about creating value. You can create value in countless ways.

I understand wanting to keep a good relationship with your dad, so talk with him some more. If you dad is going to help you pay for college, it's even more important that you talk with him so he understand that you are taking this issue seriously. He may be open to the reality that you don't know what you want to do and don't want to waste his money studying something that you don't like and won't do well at. Maybe working some jobs in different fields will help. Being a construction laborer may spark an interest in engineering, or the biz side of construction. A summer internship with a government agency will expose you to all manner of opportunities. In a different time, I'd even suggest being a dish washer but there may not be many opportunities for that right now.

This is the part where I get a little harsh...if you've been drifting along all this time not worried about what comes next or what you'll do to be a part of our society, it's time to grow up and stop making excuses. "I don't know what I want to do," is a common excuse for life on the sidewalk or not taking responsibility for your future. So be harsh with yourself and ask, am I looking for an excuse?
 

Knugs

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School applicants for medicine are asked to shadow doctors and have clinical experience for this exact reason. Too many people going into medicine have a complete false imagination of the profession and have no idea that being a doctor is nothing like greys anatomy. The resulting dropouts are damaging the university and the country they train in.

And then even after 4-6 years of medical school a medical student is expected to know which speciality they want to go into....

The statistics about how many physicians would "do that speciality again" or "would study medicine again" clearly shows that you are somewhat right. How are you supposed to know if you like doing something without having ever done it? For me it took 7 years until I realised that surgery wasnt for me. Most docs that I know do regret their choices but at that point its too late to change.

This is also true for entrepreneurship with the exception that it has a wide definition of what you actually do.

___

I was a little sceptical about an entrepreneurship degree, because the degree doesnt lead you to a "job" or niche speciality knowledge you can build a business on BUT: when I was at my VCs we had countless workshops and sessions that made me realise you can bundle the majority into a course.
If you go for an entrepreneurship degree make sure its heavily practise focused and that it supports starting a business. No point in having a heavily exam focused degree when it supposed to prepare you for the real world. Things that MUST be in the curriculum should be things such as:

-Pitching and creating pitch decks
-Idea generation/ Customer persona/ validating business ideas
-Lots of Business cases about failures and successes
-Law around starting up/employment etc
-GIve you the opportunity to actually "start"
-Networking with others
-Mentoring from actually succesful entrepreneurs.

The aim of the degree should be you building a strong theoretical foundation and having started at least one business whilst having build a strong network of colleagues and mentors.

However then you still lack any niche skills or knowledge.
 

Ernman

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If you go for an entrepreneurship degree make sure its heavily practise focused and that it supports starting a business. No point in having a heavily exam focused degree when it supposed to prepare you for the real world.
Spot on Knugs! I specifically chose an MBA program that was experiential focused for this reason. Sure we had plenty of "tests" but they were grounded in the real world - not pure financial theory. The program also had a strong international component. Something else to consider when looking around. Almost forgot to mention, we didn't have a thesis requirement. We had an "experiential" requirement where we had to pitch a business plan or project and we were graded by a "board" consisting of professors and business leaders from the community. It was an awesome program and experience.
 
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You don't. That's the inherent risk of starting a career. Millions of young people start on a career that they later discover they don't like. Then they realize they've put in 5+ years into a career that they don't want to do for the rest of their life and they have to go back to square 1 in a new one.

It happens every single day.

In fact, I bet that one of you reading this had this exact experience and decided to get into entrepreneurship for precisely that reason!

There's no real way to get around this except to try it out and set your own metrics for success/failure. It's better to do something than nothing, and like Ernman said, not knowing what you want to do is not an excuse for doing nothing.
 

thechosen1

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You don't. That's the inherent risk of starting a career. Millions of young people start on a career that they later discover they don't like. Then they realize they've put in 5+ years into a career that they don't want to do for the rest of their life and they have to go back to square 1 in a new one.

It happens every single day.

In fact, I bet that one of you reading this had this exact experience and decided to get into entrepreneurship for precisely that reason!

There's no real way to get around this except to try it out and set your own metrics for success/failure. It's better to do something than nothing, and like Ernman said, not knowing what you want to do is not an excuse for doing nothing.
In the spirit of this thread,
how do you know you would like any career at all?

Maybe you would just hate all of the real careers anyway.

edit: I guess job would be a better term. A lot of times people hate their job, so they get another, and they still hate it. You could say the same about being in business. "I hate this industry!" *starts new business* "Wow this one is completely different but has the same problems and is just as stressful"
 
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Knugs

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In the spirit of this thread,
how do you know you would like any career at all?

Maybe you would just hate all of the real careers anyway.

I'm assuming that "having a career" is a social construct that is enforced on kids and young adults and therefore something that each should figure out to earn a specific position in society. The classic question of "What do you do or what do you want to be" has quite a an unnatural impact on kids & teenagers. I guess we are forced to choose what we think we like the most and would be most happy with. Even for those that dont know or dont actually want to work. Scripted much.
 

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There was a guy here who went to Wharton and studied business and said he basically only learned about how to make great PowerPoint presentations.

You DONT know if you like something until you do it, which is a big reason why I think college students are dumb as rocks. They switch their majors, end up getting jobs that they never planned on getting or studied for, and end up with some sick idea that they “like” their job just because it’s the only way they can justify wasting so many years of their life without wanting to kill themselves.
 

bmlacey1014

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I hope everyone is doing great :)

So, the reason why I am creating this post is because I was just sitting with my dad and we were talking about college. He was advising me to study "what I like." To which led me to the question of how can I like something that I have never tried before? For example, how can I know I like being an engineer if I have never done things that engineers do?
Also has anyone gone to the university of Upenn Wharton? if you went there to study Entrepreneurship did you find what they taught there useful? I'm trying to see if I can somehow; please my parents with the whole "you got to go to college thing" while still learning stuff that is useful in Entrepreneurship.
Talk with successful people in many different industries. Ask a lot of questions about the aspects of their careers. What a typical day looks like, what steps are involved to advance in their journey and ultimately, what it is about their job that gives them the most rewarding feeling. The majority of time, you’ll find it is not their paychecks that makes them most happy, but their impact on people, places and things.
 

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You DONT know if you like something until you do it, which is a big reason why I think college students are dumb as rocks.
That might be a tad harsh. I know a lot of college grads that are far from "dumb as rocks" and are very happy in their life. Unfortunately, and based on nothing more than my observations, I suspect they represent a small percentage of those that start college. Some are blessed with knowing from a young age what they want to be when they grow up. Some need to figure it out as the mature. Others never seem to find it.
 

Fr33zerPop

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The number of people who tell me they're working in a field related to their college experience has got to be less than half. That's evidence that students are entering college with premature ideas about what they want to do with it. That can be a major waste of time and money.

The solution is to dabble in life and gather unique, stretching experiences (this goes for all of us at any age). Do internships, offer to work for free for a week. Ask if you can shadow someone for free. Remember, for zero dollars you're being paid in experience and direction, both of which can be invaluable to future you.

There's an old cautionary tale about a young woman who wants to open up a daycare. When asked what kind of potential career experiences she had as a student, she says, "Only one. Babysitting."
 

WJK

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I hope everyone is doing great :)

So, the reason why I am creating this post is because I was just sitting with my dad and we were talking about college. He was advising me to study "what I like." To which led me to the question of how can I like something that I have never tried before? For example, how can I know I like being an engineer if I have never done things that engineers do?
Also has anyone gone to the university of Upenn Wharton? if you went there to study Entrepreneurship did you find what they taught there useful? I'm trying to see if I can somehow; please my parents with the whole "you got to go to college thing" while still learning stuff that is useful in Entrepreneurship.
You have an excellent question. Do you know any engineers that you can talk to about their job? What's funny is that most engineers are a personality type. They are math nerds. Not very social. When I was a real estate appraiser, I met a lot of them that come over into that profession. They didn't talk much, but they really crunched numbers well.
Always remember that you can study something and not necessarily go into that field. As the link between being an engineer and appraising, there will be related fields. Also, you can change majors if you find that you don't like what you are studying.
I went to law school after my kids left home. By the end of the first year, I decided that I didn't want to be a lawyer. Yes, I finished and got my Juris Doctorate. BUT, I became an expert witness in real estate matters and I did litigation support. I just married that education to my other experiences & prior education.
Get as much varied education as you can. Widen your interests. Read. Talk to people. Ask questions.
 

Thinh

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A good rule of thumb to find what you might like/enjoy doing: follow your curiosity.
Sounds trite, yet in our age, it has become more and more difficult to tap into that genuine inclination.
Most people saying they're following their curiosity really are following either fame, success, fortune, or a variant of one of these, or even all of these.

The omnipresence and availability of information thanks to internet and social media have increased this situation exponentially.

So don't try to identify something that you'll like before you actually try it, it's impossible. Just follow your curiosity.
 

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How can you know you like something if you've done it before?

Are we born with our skills, preferences and values or are we the product of the environment we grow up in?

I used to hate tomatoes as a kid. Why? I probably ate one bad tomato and decided every tomato tasted bad. Or maybe I didn't like the red color as a kid (because it reminded me of blood when a bully hit me in the face) and a tomato is red so I hated it. Now I eat tomatoes regularly because I decided that it was ridiculous to base my preferences off what I liked/disliked as a kid. Sadly, many people don't analyze, revise, and update their preferences.

If you were constantly praised for your drawings as a kid, now you probably like drawing. If you weren't, and instead were criticized, you hate it today. In both cases drawing was never in your genes. It's just something that became a part of your psyche because of your previous experiences.

I like writing. I'm good at writing because my parents loved the short stories I wrote as a kid and my mom was a librarian when I was a kid. If they ignored my writings and my mom didn't work in a library, I doubt I'd be a writer today. The only reason why I like writing is because of my previous experiences, not because of some magic happening in my genes.

Both what you like and what you don't like is ultimately the same thing. It's just a construct in your head. If you're aware of that, you can choose what you like—even if you dislike it now.

From the entrepreneurial standpoint, if I were your age, I'd probably chose to like something that would be a big trend in the next few decades. So that may be a good starting point for you. See what the emerging industries are and possibly get good at one of them that resonates the most.

The easiest life is when you like everything but that's going way deeper into spirituality and I think this post is already weird as it is now. :happy:
 

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