5 Quick Tips About Choosing College Majors & Careers
Copyright © Sandra A. Jackson, JobTownResumes.com, 04/07/2014. All rights reserved.
ACK! I Don’t Like My College Career Major. NOW WHAT?
In Chinese, the word for crisis also means opportunity.
- WHAT TO EXPECT
- PICKING A MAJOR (Career Tests & Workbooks)
- 4 ARTICLES FROM INDUSTRY EXPERTS
Genius without education is like silver still in the mine. ~ Ben Franklin
My incredibly smart great-niece just went off to college with a full scholarship some 3000 miles away from home last year and is experiencing the inevitable boredom that comes with those first couple years and, what feels even more unsettling to her, questioning the major she originally chose. The first blush of real freedom is setting in and the classes seem a boring rehash of high school. In fact, it feels like she already knows all that stuff the professors are feeding her in class. It’s Déjà vu all over again! Now what? Her plight inspired this article.
TIP # 1: WHAT TO EXPECT
“What to Expect” is a great informational article for parents about what’s happening with their student (academically and emotionally) the first year of college, broken down month-by-month from September thru August of the next year. It includes suggestions about what they can do to help their students. But it is also a great article that any college student should read. Click on the link “What to Expect,” appearing on University of Michigan website.
TIP # 2: BOREDOM
The consensus from college experts such as Randall Hansen, PhD, in “Your First Year of College: 25 Tips To Help You Survive and Thrive Your First Year and Beyond.”, and from my daughter (a PhD candidate who has been teaching freshmen students the past several years) and from my husband who was a college professor and coach for 40 years is as follows: “Don’t worry about majors and careers the first two years of college.” You don’t really have to pin it down until the 3rd year of college after your general education requirements are fulfilled.
The trick is to get through the boring first two years and complete your boring-as-heck general ed requirements. The general ed requirements are going to be a huge “snooze” since they are basically a rehash of high school. They ALWAYS are. It’s a common complaint from College Freshmen. And it’s most intense in February, March, and April if you live in snowy climates. Students are stuck inside. They even have a term for it: “cabin fever.”
The “fix” to the boring-classes conundrum is lots of class variety, time-management, and staying engaged on campus. Have fun with the elective classes and buckle down on the required courses until you get to the real-deal classes in year 3. Get involved in campus activities such as student government and active clubs. Check in with your campus Career Center and your Counselors. The more you get involved in off-campus activities, the more you lose your focus.
My daughter, the freshman college teacher, pointed out,
People think college is going to be sooooo much more exciting than high school but the workout is the same. Getting involved in campus activities is good to do; but really, ‘BORED IS BORED.’ Part of going to college is about managing expectations.
Boring work still HAS to be done, but you can also start to branch out and see if you like some things you didn’t know you liked. Try sampling drama classes or other classes that might interest you. Basically browse the electives. College students are going to goof-off and have fun, period; but the goal is to keep a strong link to the school and be sure to complete enough of the requirements to be in good standing when it is time to settle on a major.
College has plenty of classes to offer that you DON’T already know everything about. Sit down with the catalog and circle the classes you would take if you could take ANYTHING you wanted to. Then, take some of them with your other classes … take any classes that will rattle the cage.
TIP # 3: PICKING A MAJOR
If you haven’t chosen a major or are unsure, DON’T be in a sweat to choose a major these first two years. There are lots of classes to sample before you have to make up your mind. Choose ANY classes you think you might like to sample different areas, but buckle down on the general ed requirements. Don’t lose focus with off-campus distractions.
(a) Campus Resources
Visit your campus Career Center for help in determining what careers might be a match for your personality and skills. They usually have tests and other resources that help you discover careers that match your interests. Visit the campus counseling office for some academic counseling. Let them know you are bored with the general education requirement classes and see if they have any helpful suggestions.
There are a host of personality/ career tests on the internet … some you pay for and some free. I personally tried all three of the following free tests and liked the “16 Personalities” test the best. I found it to be the most accurate. The “Free Career Test” and “What Career is Right for Me?” are pretty good too.
- 16 Personalities (click on the link to take the test)
Take the test and then click through to your personality type. It takes you to a descriptive page. At the bottom of the page it gives you categories: Overview, Key Traits, Relationships, Friendships, Parenthood, Careers, and Workplace. Click on each of the categories to get the specifics. It is pretty good.
2. Free Career Test (click on the link to take the test)
Take the Test, then click on “Print Your Results.” Don’t pay any attention to the “Find a School” stuff.
3. What Career is Right for Me? (click on the link to take the test)
Click on “Start the Career Test Now” and answer questions. It will give you a list of careers you may be suited for at the end.
4. Color Quiz (click on the link to take the test)
This is a fun personality/career test supposedly based on science from color psychologists.
The consensus among Career Coaches is that “What Color is Your Parachute” is still the best book for finding careers that fit your interests.
(d) Summer Internships
Test the waters for possible careers by working an internship during the summers. Contact your campus career center, family, friends, and do a ‘summer internship’ job search on Indeed.com for your geographical area. Click on Indeed.com, then type ‘summer internship’ in the “What” box and the geographical area in the “Where” box. Click on “Search.”
TIP# 5: ARTICLES FROM INDUSTRY EXPERTS
- “Unhappy First Semester?” This article is written by a college counselor about first & second year college doldroms and possible solutions.
- “10 Things No One Tells You About Your Freshman Year Of College”
- “5 Tips for College Students to Make the Most of Their College Experience.”
- “Your First Year of College: 25 Tips To Help You Survive and Thrive Your First Year and Beyond.” ~ by Randall Hansen, PhD. But check #14, #17, #21, #22, and that little box on the top right side: “Top 10 Reasons College Students Leave.” (He charges for his tests.)
NEED A LITTLE INSPIRATION?
We wouldn’t ask why a rose that grew from the concrete has damaged petals; in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun. – Tupac
So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive.
It’s the Eye of the Tiger. ~ Apollo Creed, Rocky
The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet. ~ Aristotle
Kind Regards, Sandy, Your Resume Writer
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