Q. I just started my senior year in college. I have changed my major from Business Management to Political Science to Criminal Justice to a dual major of CJUS with Psychology to just Psychology. I honestly have no idea what I am doing with myself or where I am headed. I know I want to continue my education after I get a Bachelor’s Degree but I just do not know where to go from there. Career counselors at school have not gotten me very far and I am at a dead end.
A. College is a time to explore, and it sounds like you are doing a great job in the academic area. Exploration also needs to happen through work, and tying academic experience to related careers provides a reality test for many trying to decide which academic path to pursue. For many people just taking courses isn’t enough to help provide the direction you are seeking.
Internships, full and part time jobs, summer jobs, and volunteer work all support learning about careers. The exposure you gain to environments, organizational cultures, managing and being managed and so many other issues help people figure out what they like, and don’t like, their strengths and areas for development and interests. You want to continue your education, and to make it the most of it you may want to consider gaining work experience.
Career counselors can help ask the right questions as you sort out your skills, interests, and values. They can administer assessment tests to provide information about your style, and offer comparison data to others in specific careers who have a range of success. Good career counselors will help you see the themes and patterns in your selection of majors, and what you are drawn to or the issues that pull you in other directions. They can offer timely data about compensation, and your help you write a resume, and develop interview skills so that you can gain working experience. Ultimately you need to find your own answers, and test them out through working.
Your question also relates to high school and community college students. Getting work experience in a tough economy is challenging, but no less valuable or needed, as you develop career direction. Volunteer work, and any kind of paid work broadens a student?s view of how their education fits into the world after graduation.