The Big Question: When to Change Paths (And When to Stay Put)

College is a time of turbulence. One day you gapyearmay wake up and know exactly what you 
want out of life, and the next you can barely decide what to eat for breakfast. But that’s okay.

The key to contemplating your future is doing so rationally so as to help with your plans without hindering your short-term.

Here are some tips to help you decide when to switch paths and when to stay put.

 When you may need a change

When you’re unengaged. Not just bored, but unengaged. There are times in everyone’s field of study when they’re bored, and that’s okay. But when you’re so disconnected that you can’t even see how the boring material will lead to the things you want to do, it’s time to do some self-assessing. It’s much easier to pass the classes you’re interested in.

When you’re in it for someone else. We choose our paths for many different reasons. Sometimes though, our reason is to please family or to appear a certain way to others. And while many times this turns out just fine, it’s important for everyone who’s been urged to follow a certain path to pause and make sure that’s truly what they want.

When you’ve seen the other side. Sometimes we get a building feeling that the job we thought we wanted is now the last thing we’d want to do. But rather than living in fear, find out for yourself. Ask others who are in your field for advice. Look at the required responsibilities of job postings you’d potentially look at later. Putting yourself in the place of different possibilities will tell you a lot about your preferences. 

When it’s okay to stay put

When you still have time. Often times, students feel the pressure of all their obligations and it culminates in the “what exactly am I doing?” question. In times like this, it’s best to give yourself some extra time. In the meantime, take classes that expose you to new things, and classes with credits that can apply to many disciplines. If you do end up switching, you can rest assured you maximized your time.

When your disposition comes from someone else. A common reason that causes students to freak out about what they’re doing is that they’ve heard one horror story from one person at one company. And while that person’s experience may have stunk, it doesn’t mean much of anything in terms of what yours will be.

When you can pivot, not move. Many times students can quell their fears with smaller moves. Before picking up camp, see if changing the classes you’re taking within your discipline,or interning in a slightly different field are enough to get you your ideal skill set and open up the doors you want.

Need advice for your future or unsure what you want to do? We can help. Contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email Find us on Twitter @ACISpecBenefits or on facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or YouTube. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email

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About ACI Specialty Benefits

ACI Specialty Benefits ranks in the nation’s Top-Ten providers of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), corporate wellness programs, student assistance, corporate concierge, and work/life services to corporations worldwide. ACI partners with clients to Perk Up employee engagement and performance with benefit programs that improve morale, productivity and the bottom-line. With a 95% customer retention rate and over 7 million lives covered. ACI remains a privately-owned specialty benefits corporation, headquartered in San Diego. For more information, visit or call 800.932.0034.
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