Both of these are completely normal when it comes to planning out your next steps, but if you can find your passion beforehand then it makes everything else a little bit easier.
Here are five ways to help you figure it all out:
1. Sounds obvious, but think about what brings you joy
Maybe sit down in front of the mirror for this one – and have a nice long chat with yourself. What’s your favourite hobby? What do you already spend lots of your free time doing? Is there a recurring theme in the films you watch, the books you read, or the things you talk to your friends about? ‘Passion’ feels like a big word, but most of the time it’s been right in front of you all along.
Try to think about this now, before getting stuck into the event. It’ll keep your thoughts and feelings focused throughout the day..
2. Ask literally everyone you know
Okay not literally everyone, but definitely start with the people who know you best. Often our closest friends know us better than we know ourselves – so take advantage of that. Next time you’re with them, ask them what they think your passion is. We bet they’ve got some suggestions that aren’t far off – and you’ll know the answer when you hear it.
If you’re more comfortable speaking to people who don’t know you, then take advantage of the networking opportunities at events. Ask those already studying or doing an apprenticeship the big questions instead: how did they choose their course, have they always loved what they do, can they make a difference in their subject or industry?
3. What stops you scrolling?
Nothing on Netflix again. Scroll. Scroll. Sigh...
But then something stands out. And the same thing happens on Instagram and TikTok. Oh, you’ve been sucked into another YouTube black hole at 2am. If there’s one subject that manages to stop the relentless scrolling – it might be worth thinking about whether there’s a future in it for you.
If there’s anything that catches your eye at the event, or somebody says something inspiring, write it down.
4. Old but gold: mind maps
Embrace your inner 7 year old. Get the A3 paper out, draw the big clouds, and let your highlighters loose on a good old fashioned mind map. They are genuinely useful for coming up with lots of ideas – which you can then boil down to your top ten, top five, top three… And before you know it, passion unlocked.
Getting started on this will be easier if you make good notes after speaking with exhibitors. Jot down your thoughts and feelings about the subjects you explore – and use those to start your mind map.
5. What do your friends moan at you for?
“Mate, can you please STOP..."
a) … going on about single-use plastic and paper straws
b) … watching true crime documentaries (with Wikipedia open alongside ofc)
c) … telling us when Mercury’s in retrograde and what it means for your aura
If you’re always thinking about it, learning about it, or telling others about it – you love it.
And if you love it, it might just be your passion.
You don’t need to think about your passion in terms of an academic subject or career choice. That puts pressure on the decision when it should be natural. So talk to your friends, look at the shows you’ve watched, speak to exhibitors, grill current students and apprentices for answers, and pay attention to which of your habits stick around long term. You’ll find your likes, dislikes and before you know it, your passion.