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Choosing a Career

Seeking Opportunity

You've come to college for lots of reasons. Probably one of those reasons is to prepare for a career. Choosing that career direction, however, is not always an easy task. Sometimes it seems we are just supposed to "know" what we want to do by the time we start college. In fact, few students really feel confident about their career choice when they arrive. Here is some information that may help you separate facts from fears.

There probably is more than one "right" career choice for you. Careers tend to cluster in themes of interest and skill, as well in the personal characteristics of people who report being satisfied in those career areas. Exploring your own interests and style can help you find those compatible clusters of careers.

While many students come to college with a major in mind, most students change that major at least one time during their studies. That's because they pay attention to the new information they get about their interests and abilities as they progress through their studies.

It gets even more interesting-most people change their career areas at least once during their work lives. They are responding to their shifting interests, emerging opportunities, personal expectations, and social realities. Sometimes they move into related areas and sometimes they make significant changes.

What should you consider as you think about how you want to spend your time? You'll be "at work" for about 1/3 of your life! You want to like what you're doing, so think about your passions, your values, your aptitudes, and your personal qualities. Compare them to the details of careers you are considering. Work inside or outside? Dress up or dress casual? Work with people or animals or ideas or things? Graduate in 4 years or go on to graduate school? Consistent routine or flexible expectations? Urban, suburban, or rural setting? Traveling involved? Importance of salary?

So how can you finally choose?

First, don't be afraid not to choose for a while. Use that time to take a variety of classes and find out what catches your interest and energy.

Second, let yourself change your mind as you get information.

Third, step back from what others have told you about THEIR vision of your future, and create your OWN picture of your future.

Fourth, use the many resources that are on campus to help you in your search:

Academic and Career Information Services in Holton Hall (785-532-7494)

Career and Employment Services in Holtz Hall (785-532-6506)

Counseling Services in English/Counseling Services Building (785-532-6927), or your academic adviser.

Check the libraries, go on-line, read the newspapers, talk with people about what they do in their jobs, volunteer in an area you want to know more about, use your summers to work in potential areas, and dream about what you really want. You can do it!