As a college student, mid-to-late August always brought a large wave of mixed feelings: coming to terms with the imminent end of summer; reminiscing on nights spent fireside with friends; getting excited to see familiar faces bustling around campus; yet still dreading the onslaught of readings, assignments, and projects that comes with the start of a new semester.
Why the sense of dread? Going through the motions at school can leave you feeling a bit like a hamster running furiously in circles, but not actually going anywhere. It can be difficult to see the connection between the present and future when you’re just trying to get by week to week. At least, that’s what my first two years of college felt like, and, honestly, I thought it was always going to feel that way – until I came to a pivotal realization. It wasn’t the workload, the professors, or a lack of effort on my part: it was the misalignment between what I was studying and what truly interests me.
Listen to Your Instincts
I spent two years studying chemical engineering, only to find out I didn’t actually want to become a chemical engineer. What could I pursue that still involved numbers, deep thinking, solution design, and helping others? After weeks of scouring the internet trying to determine my destiny, it turns out there was a career called Industrial/Organizational Psychologist (a career I’d never heard of until this late night existential crisis) that piqued my interest.
I spent the next 5 years earning a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and my involvement with my education had fundamentally changed. Instead of dreading class, I loved learning more. This was “right up my alley”, which is PathwayU slang for “aligns well with my interests and values”. Finally, I felt invigorated and full of intention throughout my studies. Most importantly, I felt confident that I’d chosen a path that would surely lead me to a career I would love.
How can PathwayU help?
Looking back, PathwayU would have helped me immensely during those early college days. In fact, when I interviewed to join the PathwayU team, they showed me my career matches based on my assessment results. Lo and behold, according to PathwayU’s patent-pending algorithm, I’m just a “fair match” for a Chemical Engineer, but a “strong match” for an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist!
Finding this out not only validated the struggle that was my first two years of college, but it made me wish I’d known that information much sooner. Two years of college is a significant time commitment and financial investment. Had I known I was a strong match for Industrial/Organizational Psychology during my freshman year… Heck, I might have had my Ph.D. by now!
Making the Most of this Semester
So, I challenge YOU – students headed back to campus this fall (or those headed there for the first time). Listen to yourself, explore your interests, find out what makes you light up inside. Let PathwayU help you during this exciting period of self-discovery and career-planning, by showing you the career paths that align with your unique characteristics and preferences for certain types of activities. We want you to love your future job just as much as we love ours!