What Should I Do if I Don’t Know What to Study?

April 10, 2023
Posted in Questions
April 10, 2023 wpengine

What Should I Do if I Don’t Know What to Study?

If you’re unsure about what to study, we’ve gathered advice from professionals across various industries to help you make an informed decision. From exploring interests and seeking advice to consulting a career coach, here are nine insightful suggestions provided by marketing coordinators, CEOs, and other experts to guide you on your academic journey.

  • Explore Interests and Seek Advice
  • Sample Entry-Level Courses
  • Try a Course, Embrace the Journey
  • Use Online Study Resources
  • Follow Your Curiosity
  • Use Assessments and Gain Experience
  • Match Personality With Careers
  • Explore Through Internships
  • Consult a Career Coach

Explore Interests and Seek Advice

If you’re unsure what to study, there are a few things you can do to help you figure it out. Start by exploring your passions and interests. Ask yourself what you enjoy learning and what topics are most engaging for you. You can also talk to your family, friends, mentors, and teachers to get their input and advice.

Doing some research into different career paths can help you identify potential areas of study. If you have some work experience, it can be a great way to help you decide what to study. Look at the tasks you completed and the skills you use in your job and think about which areas you enjoyed the most.

Ask your former boss or colleagues for their opinion on what subject or field you would be best suited for. If you still feel unsure, you can also look into taking some courses to explore different topics and find out which one interests you the most. This can be a great way to help you make an informed decision about your studies.

Aruna KrishnanAruna Krishnan
Marketing Coordinator, Achievable

Sample Entry-Level Courses

If you don’t know what to study, it can help to take some entry-level courses in an array of things you have a bit of interest in. Sometimes you have to sample some courses to know more about what you might get into. It can give you a better idea of what direction to ensure you don’t spend a lot of money on an entire course you don’t end up liking.

Allen King, CEO, Fun Join

Try a Course, Embrace the Journey

Simply picking a course of study and trying it out will tell you more than you’ll find out by just contemplating it. The stakes don’t have to be so high. You can also change course. What you study doesn’t have to turn into your first job or even your career.

My life got much simpler once I realized that. I took a degree in music and found a couple of successful marketing companies. Does that mean I wished I had picked a different major? No. I’ve embraced the journey and taken the lessons from my study into new areas of my life and career.

Temmo KinoshitaTemmo Kinoshita
Co-founder, Lindenwood Marketing

Use Online Study Resources

If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need to study, then you may benefit from making use of a lesson plan. You can find free lesson plans and study aids on a multitude of topics using online resources.

While they may not match up with your lesson plan, you don’t have to rely on an online lesson plan only. Instead, use them as supplementary material to help guide and reinforce your studying.

The internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips. As long as you’re able to get a general idea of where you need to point your attention, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding what you need.

Liza KirshLiza Kirsh
Chief Marketing Officer, DYMAPAK

Follow Your Curiosity

Get curious. The root cause of deciding what you want to study begins with those times when you simply got curious about something.


I was curious about doing theater, so I did a show. And I studied it in college and after school.

I was curious about technology, so I got a customer service job at a tech company. And studied it further. I was curious about traveling, so I got a job working for the GM Auto Show and went around the country. I hated the job, so I stopped studying it.

We live in a time when everyone is prompted to do something by a push notification or online ad. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to study. Just get curious and find out what interests you.

Kristina RamosKristina Ramos
Reverse Recruiter, Find My Profession

Use Assessments and Gain Experience

Take career assessments. There are several free career assessments available online that can help you identify your interests, strengths, and values. These assessments can provide suggestions on potential career paths that align with your skills and interests. You can also research different fields.

Spend some time researching different industries and fields that interest you. Look at the job duties, required skills and education, and potential career paths for each field. Reach out to professionals in fields that interest you and ask them about their experiences and career paths.

This can help you gain insight into the day-to-day realities of different careers. You should take on internships or job shadowing opportunities to gain hands-on experience in different fields. This can help you gain a better understanding of what it’s like to work in different roles and industries.

Michał PożogaMichał Pożoga
VP of Marketing, ConQuest Consulting

Match Personality With Careers

Contrary to what many people think, people aren’t usually passionate about a particular subject or industry. Instead, they’re passionate about how a subject or industry engages their brain.

Once you understand your personality type and sense of personal satisfaction, you can identify a huge number of well-paid careers that serve as a perfect match for your personality.

The most useful approach I’ve found is to take some time to reflect on your personality type and interests. Everyone has unique strengths, preferences, and motivations that can influence their career path. Identifying these factors can help you make an informed decision about what to study and what type of career might be a good fit for you.

From there, you can research in-demand careers that perfectly suit your personality type.

George ShuterGeorge Shuter
Owner and Editor-in-Chief, Indie Panda

Explore Through Internships

When you’re unsure of what you want to study, it’s good to pause and think about your options. But since it’s a bad thing to remain idle, signing up for an internship is a brilliant move. If you prefer an industry or niche, find an internship accordingly.

But even if you don’t know where you’re headed, don’t worry too much about it. An internship in any field will offer you exposure to what a work environment is all about. It’ll help you meet people who have spent years, if not decades, in their careers, and the insights they offer you may very well open your eyes to new directions and opportunities.

It’s all about pushing yourself to explore; once you do enough of this, you will have gained clarity on what to do next.

Neil PlattNeil Platt
Director, Emerald Home Improvements

Consult a Career Coach

See a career coach if you’re unsure what to study or feel overwhelmed by the decision-making process. These professionals specialize in helping people identify their strengths, interests, and goals to develop a plan to achieve them.

With their support, you will find assessing your skills, values, and personality traits easier. They also provide valuable insights into the job market and guide you in exploring different career options that align with your personality and abilities. On that basis, you can make more informed decisions about what to study.

Working with a career coach can be a great idea and support you need. They give objective feedback, offer a fresh perspective, and help you develop a clear and actionable plan for moving forward—toward your educational and career goals.

Agata SzczepanekAgata Szczepanek
Community Manager, LiveCareer

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