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What to do when your interests change

When you’re young, you’re expected to decide what you want to do and who you want to be – for the rest of your life.

But as you get older, you see more, do more and experience the world. This means it’s not uncommon for your interests, hobbies, tastes and passions to change. You might even find yourself wanting to pursue a career you’d never have dreamed of back when you were in school.

In an age where people who were once nurses and lawyers are now ‘mummy bloggers’ and ‘YouTubers’, following a change in interest may not be as daunting and difficult as it seems.

Why do our interests change?

There are many reasons our tastes change as we get older, says Ross Monaghan, Lecturer in Communication at Deakin University. Certain life experiences can change your priorities, or open doors to new opportunities to follow newfound passions.

Monaghan dispels the common perception that people who seek change in their career are just after more money. ‘People think following a change in passion is about the money, but for most people, they are simply unsatisfied in their job and want to get more out of life,’ he says.

Adam Gaylard vowed he would never set foot in a school again after leaving in year 10 to become a painter and decorator. But, as the years passed and the ‘gremlins of school life faded’, he felt drawn into teaching. Fatherhood and the opportunity to volunteer at his children’s kindergarten gave him a taste of teaching, something 20 years ago he could never have imagined wanting to do. Now he’s studying a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at Deakin University.

Adam hadn’t followed the traditional path through year 12 to university – but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his newfound goal. He entered the bachelor’s course by first completing an Associate Degree of Education.

‘Deakin offered the clearest pathway into the Bachelor of Education,’ Adam explains. The associate degree offered him direct entry into the bachelor’s degree upon completion, and even carried credit points across. ‘I learnt all the skills I needed for success at university, being such a transition from my previous career.’

'People think following a change in passion is about the money, but for most people, they are simply unsatisfied in their job and want to get more out of life.'

Ross Monaghan,
Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

A life-changing moment

Life experiences can be a massive factor in steering your interests, hobbies and passions in a new direction. These experiences don’t have to be positive; Monaghan says all types of life experiences, good and bad, can contribute to a change in taste.

For Adam, it was a trip to Papua New Guinea to walk along the Kokoda track in 2014 that sparked his thirst to get more out of life. He also came to the realisation he could no longer continue in a job he wasn’t finding rewarding. This ‘spiritual journey’ changed Adam’s perception on life and his future – to the point where he would have travelled anywhere and done anything to turn his dream into reality.

Adam’s spiritual journey turned his life upside down, from working and earning a full-time wage, to studying full-time, working two days a week and volunteering for one. It was a big life change and challenge – but the result was a reward that Adam believes is something ‘too great not to give 100%’.

What should you do when your interests change?

There are many ways we can react to a change in ourselves. There’s always apprehension, but Monaghan and Adam both offer the same piece of advice: to embrace it!

If it’s a change in career you are wanting to put into motion, you don’t always have to go ‘all in’. Monaghan asserts that there are so many ways you can test the waters to see if you are ready to make a change.

Also remembering that the ‘choices you make in your twenties shouldn’t determine your life forever’ is something Adam wishes he knew earlier. His only regret is not following his teaching path sooner.

‘So many people want to make a change, but are too nervous to fail,’ Adam says. He adds that he has noticed more and more people wanting to pursue a change in interest.

When Adam set out to follow his passion, he made sure he had a goal and a plan, something Monaghan says is one of the best ways to make your life change a successful one.

If you’re thinking about returning to study, or if heading to uni for the first time is a part of your plan, Adam offers one piece of advice: ‘coffee, drink lots of coffee’.

Want to find out more about transitioning into higher education? Deakin University offers associate degrees that can serve as pathways to university. If you’re interested in exploring this option, please get in touch with us on 1800 693 888. 

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Ross Monaghan
Ross Monaghan

Lecturer in Communication, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University

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