The sciences or business? Which career path should I choose?

Career & Education

The sciences or business? Which career path should I choose?

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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Dear Career Advisor:

I am 19 years old and I'm currently working at a financial institution. I was an intern, after which my service period was extended due to my high level of performance. I am seeking advice because I'm now confused about my goals. In high school, I was always interested in the sciences and therefore I majored in those. I would like to be a health inspector or a pharmacist or a dental hygienist. However, I got a grade three in chemistry; consequently, I was rejected by the universities to which I had applied. I have reapplied for next year and I am resitting chemistry at the CSEC level. My other grades in the external exams are good; I have 10 CSEC and 6 CAPE subjects.

I was advised by my supervisor that I shouldn't let go of the opportunities that I already have. He feels it's best to further my studies in business while continuing to work at this job. He also suggested that part-time studying is good and that attaining a degree in economics or finances would be an asset to achieving a full-time position. What do you suggest I do?
Miss Nelson

Dear Miss Nelson:

Permit me firstly to commend you on your achievements while in high school, as well as for your diligence during your internship that has led to the extension of your engagement with the organisation. Career Advisor also commends you for the decision to resit chemistry in hopes of attaining a grade that will make you more competitive.

As youngsters mature, it is not unusual for there to be changes and fluctuations in their interests and passions, including which career to choose and further, determinining whether their interests and passions can be translated into a real career for which you will be adequately motivated to progress and attain job satisfaction. In your case, the matter is further complicated as you have already secured employment in a completely different field from the ones in which you have interest.
We, however, caution against advancing in an area simply because a good opportunity has presented itself. We recommend that you take a structured approach that will help you determine the type of job you would enjoy and in which you would thrive, based on your interests, aptitude and passion. A career interest inventory, popularly known as a career test, is an effective means through which you can be guided to help you affirm your interest and explore the potential career pathways that would be the best-fit for you.

A career test is a psychometric developed based on rigorous processes to ensure that it instrument meets the criteria of validity and reliability. In other words, if properly done, by your giving honest responses, you can have a reasonably high level of confidence that the results you obtain will consistently and accurately predict the same career direction for you.

Among the more popular career tests are Strong's Interest Inventory and CareerExplorer. You will find that local career counsellors are using versions that have been normed to the cultural innuendos of the Caribbean region. Most are available at a cost, although you will also be able to obtain some good ones online. Based on the multiplicity of your interests, Career Advisor recommends that you engage the services of a career counsellor who will guide you through the process. We are confident that if you do, you will select the career that you will enjoy in a field where you will find people with similar interests and passions.

As the old adage says, if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.

All the best!

Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president, student services, at Northern Caribbean University in Manchester, Jamaica. Submit your questions to her at

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