Job Shadowing Helps Students Choose a Major/Career

The most important thing you need to remember when choosing a major/career, and getting a good education is…don’t panic!! College is so much fun, and there is no reason to stress and panic about not figuring out your major, especially when there are many tools you can utilize to help you find what major fits you best. You don’t have to declare your major until the end of your sophomore year, and the majority of people change their major several times before and after that. Choosing a major is not a decision that should be made in an hour, a day or even a week. Think about your hopes, interests and strengths and research jobs that relate to those things

There are a few challenges you will face when choosing a major. One is that there are so many majors to choose from. One way to start narrowing your choices is by taking assessments. (Check out TypeFocus on the CDS website. The results will tell you what careers compliment your personality, and it’s free!) The “What Can I do with a Major In” resource tells you different sectors you could go into with certain majors and the strategies you need to get there. You can also take actual courses to find out what subjects you like…and don’t

Job shadowing is also a great way to explore areas of interest and network with professionals in your area of interest. Starla Armstrong, a career counselor with Career Development Services, can connect you with a sponsor, the person you shadow, whose occupation most closely matches your career interests. Starla finds sponsors for students, freshmen through seniors, mostly in the Auburn/Opelika area and a few in Atlanta and Montgomery, depending on the area you want to pursue. Starla said, “The great thing about job shadowing is that you may think you want to do a specific career, but when you shadow someone in that field you may realize that is not what you want to do at all.” The sponsor can give you inside information and tell you the advantages and disadvantages of the job that your professor cannot give you. They can also suggest classes for you to take that will be beneficial but may not be in your curriculum.

For students pursuing a health care/medical field shadowing experience, Starla suggests they go through the College of Sciences and Mathematics due to confidentiality issues unique to that field. She can, however, set up informational interviews between students and health care professionals.

If you want to participate in the job shadowing program, contact Starla at least a month before you want to shadow so she can have time to find a sponsor for you. It is very important to be on time when you meet your sponsor because you do not want to ruin future opportunities for Auburn students.

Job shadowing is also a wonderful opportunity that students should take advantage of because it is a great way to network, and networking is the best way to find a future internship or job! If you don’t opt to use CDS’s program, ask your parents if they have any friends that are in your field of interest and pursue Shadowing them.

Kelly Mayes
Junior, Communication Major

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