A Practical Guide to Choosing Your Career Path
By Dana Villalva
If you feel like you are not sure what to major in or have absolutely no idea what career field you want to go into, know that you are not alone. Most college freshmen arrive on campus and are unsure of what is it they really aspire to do. It occurs more often than you think. Many students get overwhelmed with all of the changes that they are experiencing. Having to pick and decide on a career on top of all of that is challenging and can be stressful.
Take a moment to truly reflect on what you like-and more importantly-do not like to do. Do you see yourself saving lives? Managing finances? Doing social work? Working with children? Working in a lab or out in the field doing research? The opportunities are endless.
There are several ways to help you find the perfect career choice:
Attend the All-Majors Career Fair (visit Career Services for more information)
Here you will be able to learn what every college that is within The University of Memphis has to offer. At each table, you will be able to speak with representatives of that college, students who are majoring in an area within that college, and even professors who could potentially be your future professors. Do not be afraid to ask them any questions you may have about classes or a major. Everyone volunteering at that fair is there is there to help you!
Volunteer, Shadow, Intern
After you get an idea of what area or field sparks your interest, search for volunteer opportunities, internships, or job shadowing experiences to further assist you in making your decision. By getting exposure to real-world situations and scenarios, you will be more certain of what career you would like to go into. You will also get to meet and connect with others who already work in that field. This will allow you to network and build lasting connections that may help you along your career path.
When you meet someone who already works in the area you would like to go into or a student who is only a few years ahead of you in that same career path, consider asking them for an interview. You will be able to ask all of those pressing questions, and express any doubts, concerns, and hesitations that you may have before committing to a major and career. Consider asking questions such as, What does a typical day in your life look life? How did you know that this was the right field for you?
Research Everything You Can About Your Career Choice and Major
Research what type of jobs your degree with help you reach. Research the number of years and degrees it will take for you to reach your career goals. Will a bachelor’s degree be sufficient in helping you reach your career goals, or will you be required to continue your education to obtain a graduate-level degree to better position yourself for that job? Additionally, consider searching for topics such as unemployment rates for that job and projected job growth. This will help you see all of the aspects of that career and what opportunities are available in your chosen field.
Dana Villalva is a Senior majoring in Health Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics at The University of Memphis and will graduate in May 2022. After graduating, she plans to complete the combined Master’s in Science and Nutrition/Dietetic Internship program here at the University of Memphis. She aspires to be a Registered Dietitian to serve patients from a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Dana loves to travel and spend time with friends and family.