Isn’t it funny that we’re expected to know exactly what we want to do with our lives right out of high school? We’re just so young and have no hands-on experience … wait — you mean we don’t need to know exactly what we want to do with our lives right out of high school? Brilliant!
It may help if you have a general idea of what your career path looks like, but don’t fret if you’re not quite there yet. Think of yourself as a blank canvas with endless possibilities. In fact, some people actually benefit from coming into college undecided on their major. If you utilize your resources correctly, not only will you find the right major for you, but you’ll also be more invested in your degree and have many points of contact to help you through your time here.
Visit the Career Development Center
If figuring out your career path were easy, there’d be no reason for MTSU to have such an awesome Career Development Center! Your friends in the career center are there to help you find the right path and stay on it. From hosting career fairs and proofreading your resume to even providing you business attire through the Raiders Closet, this is your one-stop-shop for any sort of career guidance.
One resource you may find useful as an undecided student would be career interest assessments. If you meet with a career advisor, you can take a test that tries to find different career options that work with your interests, personality and skills. This isn’t anything binding, but it gives you plenty of options to explore further and narrow down your search.
Meet with faculty members
There are two reasons why MTSU faculty are the best around. (Well, there are more than two, but these are the two that are relevant to the article. Cut me some slack!) It’s because that almost all of them bring real-world, hands-on experience and knowledge to their classrooms, and they do a good job of making themselves available to students.
For example, say that you took one of the career tests and it said you’d probably do well in the marketing field. As a student, you have access to a full roster of professionals, so you can reach out to any of our Department of Marketing faculty to see if they’d be willing to sit down and discuss some options with you.
They’ll probably give you words of wisdom, and if it clicks for you, it may be a major you want to think about choosing. If not, start again with a different career. If anything, you’ll gain more understanding of another person’s field, making you a more well-rounded professional!
Be someone’s shadow for a day
When you have a pretty good grip on a few career options, consider navigating a “day in the life” of someone in a field you’re interested in. Many local businesses and organizations will give you the chance to go behind the scenes and learn what it’s like to work in some of their positions. From start to finish, you’ll learn about other people’s career paths, how to break into the industry and what tools are required to be successful.
This sort of experience is extremely valuable because of how much information and experience you can receive in such a short amount of time. It’s like speed dating … but for careers! Except they won’t say “next” and send you on your way. And there are no other potential dates. It’s really not like speed dating at all, I guess. All I’m trying to say is that this a good chance to test to see how you’d fare in a career’s typical workplace environment. Try it out!
Check out some professional clubs
While talking to faculty and industry professionals about careers you’re interested in is obviously a good move, there’s another resource you should tap into: your peers! Students with similar interests are able to form student organizations, which is a great way to connect with others and provide more value to your college experience. I highly recommend joining a student organization because of the friendship and experiences that come with it.
Most majors have an organization designed to bring students together to take advantage of resources like guest speakers, conferences, and other opportunities for professional growth. If you want to learn from other students about the coursework required or information on the career field in general, try reaching out to the organization and sit in on one of their meetings. You’ll pick up a lot of information very quickly!
During your adventure of choosing a major, don’t rush things. Remember, 80% of students change their major at least once before they graduate. You won’t fall behind the pack and you won’t be viewed as a lesser student just because you haven’t decided on a major. Simply take advantage of the research you’re having to put in now, and use it as a way to immerse yourself in the college experience and become as well-rounded as you can. You got this!
Author Kobe Hermann is a senior at MTSU, majoring in management in the Jones College of Business and minoring in business administration. The views and opinions expressed above are his own.