Academic and Career Planning

By Zach Srnis

When college students arrive on campus, they are expected to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives. The process includes looking at the numerous careers that are out there and choosing the right major and academic program that will lead them to success.

Christina Hardy, director of Career and Academic Advising at Youngstown State University, said that students have a hard time choosing a path to follow for the rest of their lives, because they still do not know who they are as a person.

“Students who are 18 or 19 when they first go to college don’t know what they want to do,” Hardy said. “They have lived most of their lives being influenced by those around them; whether it be their parents, friends, community or media that they have consumed.”

Hardy said the process begins by determining the goals and interests the student has. The advisers need to understand where each student they work with wants to live, the salary they are hoping to earn and what passions they have.

The advisers then take the information they’ve obtained and try to match the student with the career field that satisfies most of their needs.

“Less than 10 percent of students know the career fields that are out there when they start their college career,” Hardy said. “Once we find out what they are looking for in a career, however, we are then able to narrow the selection to 2-3 desired career fields.”

After the student chooses the career fields, they meet with the advisers to choose a major that will lead to the desired career. Once students decide which career they want to pursue, they are encouraged to begin taking classes that are specific to that major.

Kim Teodecki is a YSU student who has changed majors during her college career. While she originally planned to be an accountant, Teodecki found her place within the journalism program.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, and my family pressured me into accounting simply because it is one of the generic college degrees that will land you a job,” Teodecki said. “My accounting career ended when I found the math to be overwhelming. I then reassessed my talents and interests and realized a love for journalism.”

Allison Guerrieri is also a YSU student that used the academic advising services to find her major.

“Meeting with an adviser allowed me to focus my interests and helped me to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” Guerrieri said. “I initially was in the dark, and the academic and career services listened to me and guided me down the right path.”

Students that need help are encouraged to go to Kilcawley Center for guidance.