Anna’s Pondering The Question of the Week Series: Part I

The leaves are turning gold, rainy days are becoming more frequent, the demand for ice drinks is going down, and the students’ interest in career- related issues is going up. In my Fall blog series that I am embarking on now with my best intentions to post weekly, I would like to reflect on the students’ most typical question that I had to handle at the appointments last week. I hope this will help those who may have similar questions but haven’t yet had a chance to visit the Career Center.
And the winning question of the week….DRUM ROLL!… is the question about selecting a major. If this is not your question, skip the rest of the blog, but do check my next week post!

Undecided freshmen may feel overwhelmed by major choices at AU, as well as the drive of many AU students to do double majors, triple minors, etc. For sophomores, the question of selecting a major or a second major is acquiring even more urgency. Although sophomores have time until the end of the spring semester, you may want to have more clarity about your course of action by the time when registration for the spring semester starts. So, what should you be doing now? The key to any smart decision is to gather sufficient information by exploring, experiencing, and reflecting. So, start with gathering information about your preferences and ask yourself:

• What classes, projects, job tasks, and extra-curricular activities have I enjoyed? What do I hate? Why? Are there any patterns in my likes and dislikes?
• What strengths, abilities, or skills do I possess, or would like to develop?
• What personality traits make me who I am?
• What motivates me to make my best effort, what doesn’t?
• How do all of my individual preferences relate to careers and majors?
• Are there any important considerations (personal, geographical, family, etc) that may limit my career choice?

If you are not clear about your preferences, or how they relate to majors or careers, meeting with a career advisor can really help! Your career advisor can guide you in reflecting on your experiences, recommend self-assessment tools to shed more light on what you need to focus on when selecting your major, as well as brainstorm with you and suggest potential volunteering, extra-curricular, and internship opportunities, which could help to discover or develop your interests.

If you feel you have a good understanding of yourself and have already identified possible majors or careers, waste no time and start gathering more information about the fields of your interests. Your plan of action should include, but not be limited to:

  1. Exploring career guides for specific majors on the Career Center Virtual Toolkit
  2. Checking out books on careers/majors from the Career Center Resource Library
  3. Researching other career resources, such as O*Net, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Vault (found on AU CareerWeb), etc., and other resources listed on Self-Assessment Page 
  4. Taking a close look to major requirements/courses
  5. Talking to people (This is important!): your faculty, seniors, academic advisors, peer advisors, career advisors

Do you also have questions about how to select between two majors, or whether to add or not to add a second major, or a minor? Are you concerned that you don’t have any particular PASSION or that you have too many passions, and it’s hard to choose which one to pursue? Do you worry that your interests may not be financially viable options for you? Your career advisors don’t want to pretend that they know all the answers but we know how to go about searching and finding solutions that may work. Please, check our blogs regularly, explore our website for updates, and talk to us at individual appointments. Thank you and do svidania! (which in Russian means “Till the next time!”)