Discovery! is who we are…
Here at TTUA major exploration is a part of almost everything we do. It’s one of the founding principles of our office, and it guides our advising appointments, presentations, student interactions, involvement with other offices on campus, and professional development. We believe that every student needs to explore, not only to determine a best-fit major, but also to find a Plan B. Sometimes that Plan B is a back-up plan for when things don’t go as well as you had hoped. Other times that Plan B is a stair-step plan to help you get to where you want to go. We want you to have multiple ideas and directions in mind so that you’re more prepared when some unexpected event arrives.
It’s a process, not a program.
Even more importantly, we want you to have a solid process in place for ANY instance in which you need to make a decision. That’s what Discovery! really is…a decision making process. We understand that major exploration is different for every student. Each of you has a variety of individualized experiences which inform how you think and feel – that’s part of being human, we just aren’t all exactly alike. So we know a one-size-fits-all major exploration program doesn’t make sense. Our goal is to meet you where you are. By talking with an advisor one-on-one, you can help us to understand what you’ve already done to explore. Maybe you’ve talked with some of your parents’ friends who are professionals in the field in which you are interested. Maybe you’ve done some job shadowing. Maybe you have taken classes in a subject area at another institution. Maybe you have job experience that has helped you to determine a specific major or career objective. Maybe you’ve interviewed your Sorority sisters about their majors. What we need first is a starting point, and then we can help you to determine additional activities that can further your exploration. What do those activities look like?
It’s important to have an idea of who you are, so self-exploration activities are important to process. Identifying and understanding your strengths, interests, and values helps you to eliminate and/or confirm major and career possibilities. Who am I? Where do I excel? What are my academic interests? Where do I spend my free time? How do those correlate? What do I value? Of my values, which are important personally vs. professionally? Often we use career assessments, like the FOCUS or Strong Interest Inventory offered via the Career Center, as a starting point for this sort of thinking. You can also use tools like our Majors_CareerCluster to help evaluate what majors fit within the area in which you are highly skilled/are most interested/find the most value. We supplement that sort of assessment with critical thinking activities which ask you to reflect on what you’ve learned – that means moving away from description and into how you feel about what you’ve learned.
Once you have critically considered who you, you can begin to research majors which pair well with skills, interests, and values. Major research means using tools like the Course Catalog to determine what majors actually exist. You can see what the requirements are for those majors in the course catalog and read through the course descriptions. You can then talk to advisors, professors, instructors, and current (upperclassmen) students in those majors for a better understanding of what the major is really like. Attending professional student organizations for those majors is a great way to explore; you can find a list of those student organizations on the Center for Campus Life website.
When you investigate a major, you’re looking at the real-life applicability, implication, and usage of the major. This could mean interviewing experts in the fields related to those majors…professors, instructors, or other work-place professionals. Sometimes that can feel intimidating, but we have interview worksheets that we have developed to help you formulate questions so that you can gain the information you need. Job-shadowing is a great way to see what the career you want looks like on a daily basis. You may discover that even though you thought you wanted Nursing, blood and guts just aren’t your thing. You may figure out that what you thought an Advertising professional does is more like a Marketing professional. You may see that the way a Technical Writer engineers a written document to meet a specific need is what you’ve been wanting to do all along. Internships are also a great opportunity, and that’s something that the Career Center can help you set up.
Major confirmation is the goal we set for all of our students. We want you to be so informed about your top-choice major that you know without hesitation that it is where you’re meant to be. Confirming a major not only means that you’ve a variety of exploration activities, but also means that you understand what it will take to get to the major you want. You have a firm have a firm grasp of where the major can take you. You understand the major requirements and the courses you’ll need to be taking. Confirmation is more than just declaring. It’s the confidence to know that your decision is the best one you could make because made it through research.
We’re here to help!
I know all this may seem overwhelming, but we know the process works. We’re here to help you move through that process and find the major that tailor-made for you! You can find all of the reflective Discovery Activities I discussed above on our blog. See which of those fit your exploration process, and then come talk with us. To schedule an appointment with us to talk more about your Discovery! process, please visit ttu.timetrade.com, call (806) 742-2189, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to check us out on Twitter @TTUAdvising or via Facebook where we announce events that could aid your exploration. And don’t forget, our Pinterest page has tons of ideas about how you can further your exploration process!