“It’s about the Journey”: Academic & Career Decisions

by Olivia Miller

This week I, along with one of my staff members, began teaching our section of Academic & Career Decisions – our career planning course offered through our office. This is my third time teaching the course as the graduate assistant, but fourth time total and has been one of my favorite parts of my job. Academic & Career Decisions is a one credit hour, eight week course allows students to explore their major and career options as well as teach them how to write resumes and cover letters, and conduct mock interviews. I enjoy teaching the course each semester because I get to see my students grow in a short amount of time, something that cannot happen in a one hour appointment. Not only do I get to see this growth, but also self-confidence becomes apparent, which makes my role as instructor even more meaningful.

However, there are some difficulties in being the teacher instead of the student. Lesson planning and grading become time consuming, and bending over backwards for students can be tiring. Despite this class being easy, I did have one student fail last semester simply due to the fact he turned in less than half the assignments – and I really struggled with this. I felt such a sense of responsibility for each of my students to succeed, but I have to understand that I can only provide the resources and tools for success, the students have to pick up the tools to build their success. Since we are only one week in, I am hopeful that our class will have engaged and productive students, ones that want to learn and find out the right major or career for them.

I am also excited to see how this course unfolds with all of the changes we implemented over the summer. In an earlier post I had written about how these changes have been a big part of my summer work, and I am both excited and anxious to see how it turns out. We have created this mindset that this eight week course is a journey – yes figuring out a major is important, but the twists and turns of getting there learning about the options, is just as important. Thus, we reexamined assignments and course content and integrated as many Journey songs as we could into our new Prezis (hopefully our students know some of these songs). Hopefully our students will appreciate these changes and find our class more valuable than before.

Even though we are only one week in, I am again enjoying this teaching role and learning both with and from my students. Eight weeks goes by fast in the classroom, and I hope the students enjoy the ride and reach their desired destination leading them to the road of success and fulfillment. And, for those students who do not find their major or dream career in eight weeks, because yes it can take longer than that, then I hope they do as Steve Perry said and “don’t stop believing.”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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