High school was ending; I had college tours and major decisions to make. I finally decided that UMD was the place for me, but choosing a college wasn’t the only decision I had to make, I needed a major. After talking with my family and my school counselor I finally chose to declare a major in Biology. I decided on biology because I knew that if I got my Bachelor’s degree in Biology I could do a lot of things with it, mainly I knew that with it I could help people. So the next step for me was to ask myself a few questions, and hopefully with the answers I could figure out what it was I wanted to do with my major.
The last two questions were pretty easy, I mean I know what I like, and I like people who are curious, independent and rational while still maintaining a sense of humor. I feel like the ideal environment for me would be one that is clean, organized, and quiet; a place where I could think and work independently while still contributing to an overall cause. Unlike the other two, the first question was much tougher. I had no idea what I could do with a BS in biology. But hey, I knew what I liked. Was this enough to figure out what I wanted to do in the future? Turns out, it was.
My journey to find out what I wanted to do started during Bulldog Welcome Week when I went to a presentation held by a student at Career & Internship Services with my rock group (of course this was before they hired me and I started working there). I heard they could help me with figuring out what I could do with my major, so I went and made an appointment to talk with a counselor. They were a big help, and the biggest help was an assessment I took once I started working in the office, the Strong Interest Inventory.
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is an assessment that compares your interests to the interests of people happily employed in a wide variety of occupations and identifies job titles related to your interests. The SII uses John Holland’s, Holland Code, which breaks interests down into 6 themes: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. The SII gives you your code that consists of 3 of the themes, indicated by: R, I, A, S, E, and C, and this code can help find a career that clicks with you. Holland’s model also shows that themes closest to one another on the model have more in common than themes that are opposite on the model.
For example, my code is ICA, so I would have more interests in the realistic themes than those that are in the enterprising theme. Holland also suggested that people are attracted to occupational environments that meet their personal needs and give them satisfaction. Knowing what makes you comfortable is helpful in figuring out a career.
The most interesting thing about the SII was how accurately it described me. Several things I look for in a comfortable environment and in people that I feel comfortable around were identified in the assessment. One of the results on my top ten occupations I would be happy doing was a Medical Technologist; they collect samples and perform tests to analyze body fluids, tissue, and other substances. To some people, this job wouldn’t sound very fun. To me, it seemed perfect as I would work in a clean, organized environment, where I get to work independently as well as I get to help others while maintaining a sense of anonymity.
Basically, with a great job outlook and a decent median pay medical technology appealed to me right away and so far in my journey, it has been a steady goal of mine to be a med tech. My recommendation to all the students stressing and possibly freaking out is to stop into Career & Internship Services. It really is an office full of eye-openers that can help direct you towards a decision, and I strongly suggest taking the Strong Interest Inventory assessment, no pun intended, it will help you.
Sources: Bolles, R.N. (2011) What Color is Your Parachute? (2011 Ed) and Zunker, V.G. (2006) Career Counseling: A holistic approach (7th Ed)