The last step first

Students can get overwhelmed with the variety of majors ready for them to choose.

Students can get overwhelmed with the variety of majors ready for them to choose.

Lydia Schmidtler, Correspondent

MiraCosta College offers free career counseling for all students and alumni. Counseling helps students make informed decisions with the help of experienced counselors.

Stacey Mathis, a career counselor at MCC, helps students find their best-suited career path. “Career counseling is important because it can save time and money, but not just that. There is nothing worse than going to school for something that you did not want to pursue,” Mathis said.

Currently, only 40 percent of workers are satisfied with their job and over a third of your life is spent working. The career counselors at MCC work to help students find careers that are fulfilling to them, lowering the chances they end up with a job they hate.

Mathis uses career assessment tools to find out what the student might be interested in but does not tell students what to do. “If a student does not know what to do at all, I will ask them their interests. And a lot of times they don’t know. I use assessments, but I do not use assessments to tell the students what they want to be,” Mathis said.

“A lot of times students think ‘I will take this assessment and I will know exactly what I want to be.’ But that is not the case. It just kind of gives us additional talking points,” Mathis said.

“A lot of students know what they want to be. But maybe they have been discouraged, or did not think they could make money doing those things,” Mathis said.

Donna Davis, the faculty director at MCC’s Career Center, switched majors when she was going through college. “I changed my major too. I did the same thing [that many students do].

Davis switched her major to psychology after learning what being a business major entailed. ‘OK, business is a good one,’” Davis had said as an incoming college student regarding her initial choice of major. “‘You can do that anywhere.’ So, I got [to college] and we had to learn a computer language. And I said no. So, I switched to psychology. That’s where I belonged.”

Davis found the career that best suited her strengths after switching majors. Switching majors is not uncommon, with 80 percent of college students switching their major at least once.

“Most students do things backwards. I think that most people think that the career center is the last stop. But I think that it should be the first stop because it can help students explore their interests, and start them off feeling confident about what they are studying,” Davis said.

“Then they can go to the transfer center and ask which university has good programs for what they’re studying. Then they go and get an education plan. But a lot of times it’s done backwards,” she said.

Mari Dela, a student at MCC, who recently utilized the center’s services, said, “I went to the career center today, online, and it was pretty nice. It was quick and they answered all my questions as best as they could. They redirected me to who I needed to talk to and I was able to find what I needed,” Dela said.

One study found that career counseling can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction.

MCC’s career center is currently open in-person and online Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Through the center, students can make an appointment with a counselor and explore different careers with their free resources.

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