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It happens all the time: College students change majors. People change careers. It happens so often that you'd think it was just the way things are. But it's not how it has to be. Related: 3 Very Real Reasons You Should Make A Career Shift When you change majors in college, you're basically starting from scratch. All those hours you studied, all the money you invested—gone. And when most college students are already graduating with crippling debt, the last thing you want to do is waste time or money. And how many people do you know who have changed or are considering changing careers? Quite a few, I'm sure. For one reason or another, their current job just isn't cutting it, and they want to find something that pays more or is more fulfilling.

Who Are You? (Who, who…who, who?)

If you want to avoid wasting time and money in college, and then setting off in a career that's just not right for you, you have to take time to understand your natural talents, your unique interests and passions. You have to discover the real you. “Too many students don’t know who they are or what they want to do, so they end up choosing majors late, switching majors, or transferring schools," says Rachel Gogos, Founder and CEO of MyPath101.com. "You have to make a real commitment to determining who you truly are and where your interests and talents lie—otherwise you're just going to end up wasting valuable time." What types of things excite you and get your juices flowing? What things have others always said you have a knack for? What are your core values and beliefs? These are all things you need to give serious consideration to before college if possible, so that you don't waste time studying something you're not passionate about. If you've already found yourself stuck in an unfulfilling career, it's vital that you take the time to consider these same things before making your next move; otherwise you could end up in just another unsatisfying job.

Do Your Homework

Once you've taken sometime to list your interests, talents, and passions, make a list of careers that would allow you to put those things into action. Then go out and talk to people in those professions. Find out what their typical day is like. Ask them what they like about their job, and what they don't like about it. If possible, see if they'll let you job-shadow them for a day or two so you can get a real feel of what that career is like. When we're kids, we all talk about what we want to be when we grow up, but we base that on what sounds fun or cool. When you're actually investing time and money into something you'll be doing for a big portion of your life, however, you have to be calculated in your decision and base it on real, honest self-research and introspection. That's the only way you can figure out who the real "you" is and what type of career will keep you happy and fulfilled for years to come.

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