I am wondering, if something finding some free courses online in the areas that I am looking at would help me to decide what I'd like to pursue in college before I get there? Is there some other way of finding out if I'd really even like it?
There's no litmus test for this king of thing. In my experience most people figure it out by trial and error.
If you think you might be interested in something:
- read up on it
- take a course in that area
- job shadow
- find an intership
- seek out others who work in the field or other students who are interested in it
Like many, I didn't choose my career. It sneaked up on me. And I actually like it. The money is ok, the work and the people are interesting, and gosh, I do get lots of cool toys to play with.
A lot of people are dead set on the actual kind of work they're doing and they fail to realize that there is more to engineering and science than just the design or the research. You have to sell it, maintain it, document it, market it, finance it, and manage it.
And surprisingly that involves a lot of other people. You could be doing very interesting work but everyone around you are scum of the earth and you would be unappreciated. You could be doing some work that is almost as interesting, but have some interesting people, a stable job, less stress, and a better life overall.
This is not just about the work. This is about building a career and living better. I don't need to work on the really cool stuff. Sometimes the mundane stuff can be surprisingly fun and surprisingly challenging.