College has become the “norm” for students after high school as part of the traditional trajectory path, but how many of us ever stopped to think about the importance of college affecting your future career path? Whether your major is in STEM, the performing arts or liberal arts, your college experience affects your career path. From volunteering to getting a (paid) internship, college gives opportunities that are seamless for the real world.
- Choosing Your Major.
Yes, the dreaded “M” word that students spend years trying to figure out what they want to study. Students are often burdened with the expectation that they have to know exactly what they want to do after high school and remain committed to it forever. But we all know that students coming into college at seventeen and eighteen are not the same people that are going to graduate at twenty-one / twenty-two. There are a lot of life lessons and experiences that students have to endure. However, choosing the “right” major depends on a variety of factors, including a combination of strengths, interest and (if you know this) your “purpose” - what you’re meant to do. Most people might not know their “purpose” so they opt for strengths or interests, or for some that resonate from cultural backgrounds, what their parents tell them to. But we all know that never produces good results. Rather than pressure to pick one major, especially if you’re undecided, try to get a feel for different majors by taking different classes. Unlike high school, college gives the opportunity to take much more enriching classes. Then, try to figure out your personal goals and interests. One thing that comes into mind is the Ikigai method, pictured down below…
For those in STEM, a degree in certain fields paints the pathway for nursing or medical school. For others, a degree is simply all that’s needed plus a license. Which brings me to the next idea.
2. Exploring Career Opportunities
Most universities not only have a career center but also student mentors to help figure out their major. At least that’s the case at my alma mater. There’s opportunities for internships, research positions (especially if you’re at an R1 school), and sometimes, extra curricular activities can spark your interest as well. The key is to be open minded and flexible but also gaining an idea in the back of your mind. While you do want to enjoy the college experience, keep in mind that college only lasts four years and it go by in the blink of an eye.
You know the saying, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. Someone gets a job because they know someone that knew someone that knew someone who’s in a current field of study. If you’re lucky to have strong professors you can easily talk to, don’t take that for granted. Networking events, Alumni fairs and other various events are all there to connect students to be successful. Utilizing resources is key to success.
Don’t wait until your final semester of senior year to start networking, it all starts the minute you set foot on campus your first day! You can shape your future career and achieve your goals no matter what if you put your mind to it. Your college experience is what you make of it.