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I've been silent on here for a while, but recently I've been given the opportunity to go back to school and I need some help. Basically, I want to talk to somebody about which major to take and how to narrow down career choices. I think I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, but I need to lay out the steps to get there. Do I just go to the local college and ask to talk to a counselor? Somebody told me that there are online options for this as well, which would be a lot more convenient. Any thoughts?

I'm 35 years old, so not exactly just out of High School...

Thank you!

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Have you taken the DISC profile? That will help you narrow down careers that are suitable for you. Then I would highlight the ones that speak to you, that peak your interest and find someone that works in that field/career and talk to them about the pro's and the con's. Then continue your narrowing until you are down to maybe 2-3 choices and talk to the counselor at those departments. They can show you what that field of study is like, what it will require and so on. 

If you already know what you would like to do then definitely make an appointment with a career counselor at that department. I met with mine and was able to get a Bachelor's degree in 1 year thanks to that I had prior classes and only needed to take the core classed to graduate. I could not have done all that "piecing it together" on my own because they know the curriculum's and schedules not only for that semester but the normal sequences of classes and can help you lay out the plan. 

And congrats on going back to school - that's awesome! 

Perfect!

Yes, I took the DISC profile, and am pretty much set on which way I feel I should go (though I'll take a second look to be sure). So going to the school and talking to a counselor of that department rather than a general career counselor would be the better path? 

I have an Associate's Degree already, so it shouldn't take me 4 years, I'm thinking maybe 2 and a half unless I can take extra classes over the summer for example. Excited!

Thank you

Camilla had some great advice Christina. Something you may want to do is connect to a 48 Days coach. When the 48days.com site is back up, you can go to the coaching tab and click on "hire a coach (or hire Dan) - it will take you to a page that has you fill out a questionnaire. From there, they match you up with a 48 Days certified coach that matches your needs. There is no obligation to fill out the form, but may give you the added boost you need for getting to where you want the quickest way possible. 

If you go to a college counselor will most likely point you to one of their programs. Just like when you go to a orthopedic surgeon - more than likely, he/she may refer you for surgery whereas a family physician might start with physical therapy. Just a difference on perspectives and more than likely a counselor is going to fit you into what they have rather than really pulling out where you can go with your skills, abilities, talents, and passions. 

Lastly, at 35 years old, you are at a great age to explore your passions and purpose. I always am inspired whenever I hear Dan mention when he got going on his career path, or when folks like Zig Ziglar started as they were well into their 40's and older. So way to go on exploring where you best would fit as most people never ask themselves where they are destined to be their greatest. 

Best wishes.

Jen

p.s. again, the .com site is down, so may want to check back in a day or two when it is back up.

Thanks so much, Jen.

I understand what you're saying and would love to talk to a coach at this point, but it's not in my budget.

I had a free counseling session some months ago and it was great. The free download book I got as well at that time helped me realize that if I kept finding reasons why I couldn't do what I had trained to do it was because it probably wasn't quite the right thing for me.

So, I continued to research, think and pray about my options and then I began talking to people that were successful and that enjoyed and were good at what they were doing and I found that they didn't have it all figured out, but they got moving, and as they headed into the general direction they thought was right for them the path was fine-tuned and they were able to end up in a really great place.

I know Dan doesn't believe that everyone needs to go to college and that education is exclusively, or even primarily in the form of sitting in a classroom memorizing a text. I agree, but in this case I've received the offer that school and living expenses will be paid for and I can get the education I need to step into the field I'd like to work in. In my case, as far as I know, schooling is required. I'm excited about it though, and look forward to where the path leads me. I'd just like a little bit of direction on what major to choose and more insight on what my options are when I do get my degree. 

So yes, if coaching was free, I'd do it, but in the meantime I'll see if a counselor can at least give me some of the information I'm looking for.

By the way, I also used some tidbits I got out of a 'start with why' podcast, to narrow down my options.

Thank you so much for your help!

Hi Christina! 

It sounds like you are taking some action to help you gain some clarity for your career. I'm one of the 48 days certified coaches on the 48days.com website. 

I specialize in working with people aged 25-35 who want clarity on their next steps to thrive in work they love. Please don't hesitate to ask me any question you may have. 

I'm over at movedbypurpose.net

I have a very affordable group coaching program that begins December 2 that you would fit right in. This could be a great Christmas gift to ask for. It will be worth it if you can manage. 

If there is no way you can come up with funds to invest in coaching, then I would STRONGLY suggest that you actually do some job shadowing. Interviews are great, but getting in there and experiencing the field is the most valuable. If you can job shadow for a week for a couple hours a day that would be very valuable experience. 

I'll have to research that! 

I know I want to work with animals, but I'm not sure I still want to be a vet. I have a couple of questions to ask my vet, before I would commit to that route... I've interviewed him before as part of a Business Management Seminar I took and it was very helpful.

I've also worked for a couple of different vets and had a short apprenticeship with another one. 

Recently, I became a certified dog trainer, I was also a groom at a large horse training facility for a few weeks one summer. 

One thing that has always been involved in my thinking that i'm just now pinpointing as a possible career is the bridge between loving animals and wanting to help people as well. I find that animals suffer when they 'get in the way' of people that don't particularly care about them. Those are the situations I want to be involved in. To find solutions that help the people and protect the animals as well. An example would be a program I saw in Germany where they installed blue reflectors on the sides of the road because they found out that deer shy away from that color for some reason. So it protects the deer and helps to protect people as well. I know of many more examples, some high-tech, some not. It would be a dream to work on projects like that. Just doing the research, finding the solutions. But how do I get there? It's like zoology, conservationism and who knows what else combined. However, I'm also intrigued by Marine Biology, though in looking into that option I heard that most people that graduate with that degree don't actually find work in that field. Biology yes, marine biology, no. So not the best job prospects there... 

Rambling now, sorry...

We raised a couple Leader Dog for the Blind puppies, and have a leader dog mom. Is there anything like this where you live? 

Volunteer for the vets there if possible. You won't be able to do any procedures but following the vet around will be great experience. That's also a way to help both animals and people. 

Second suggestion: What is the name of the company who came up with the program in Germany? Can you dig around and do some research on that? Try to make a connection with someone at that company and see what field of study they chose. See if they know of any US companies that are doing similar work. Try to make connections at those companies as well. 

Thanks Stephanie!

I actually worked for a couple of different vets and apprenticed with another one at one point, so following another one around at this point is probably not necessary. I'm pretty experienced in that field as I've worked every position but being an actual vet now, but I agree it's the thing to do for somebody that's never been involved in a field they might be interested in.

I hadn't considered Leader Dog training because I was under the impression that it was a volunteer position. Also, I have a pack of dogs and two cats and really don't need to add any other animals to my household at the moment. Not until I buy the country home I've been longing for. Then I intend to add some goats, chickens, horses, who knows what else. Just depends on the land, the resources, the time, etc. I'll have to stick to volunteering at animal shelters training their dogs and getting them adopted for now.

As far as the company in Germany, I'd have to dig into that, but I got the impression that a lot of it is government funded. That doesn't mean it's not a company of some sort involved, probably using government grants. 

I could definitely look into that and see if there are similar US companies as well. There was some information I found just researching different careers that told me much of the work biologists and conservationists do is funded by grants and connected to the government here as well. That was primarily when I was looking into Marine Biology.

So much more to look into...

Congratulations on pursuing investment in yourself. Learning is priceless. I returned to college at 28 and it was very exciting and freeing. You will find many people that share your drive to learn and achieve, and they aren't all right out of High School.

There are many online options for colleges. You can google "your state online accredited college programs", if you are concerned with finding a state recognized program. In NYS we have a whole state curriculum online. You may have something similar in your state. 

If you need someone to bounce ideas off, you can access free resources at your local college. One of the things I would consider when talking with colleges is asking them for the placement rate on the particular degrees you are considering. The college keeps track of that information. They can also tell you what classes are required for particular majors, and that varies by college.

Also there are Career Centers in each state.  In the box " American Career Centers", put in your zip code and it will link you to centers that help with employment and training. Many have career counselors that can help you get started clarifying career choices.  All the services there are free.

Also, I agree with the consensus here that we have outstanding 48days coaches. Many of us offer an initial consultation that is not expensive, and may help with your initial decisions.

If you have other questions, please feel free to email me. :) Best of luck with your new endevours!

Thank you Marcy!

I actually went back to college at around 28 years old as well and got my Associate's Degree in Accounting/Information Management. I LOVE working with numbers but realized that tax accounting (which I thought I wanted to do) was not at all enjoyable to me. I looked back into Accounting a few months ago, but soon realized that I'm just not cut out to sit behind a desk most of the day. I don't mind working on a computer, writing (in fact I just started a book!), etc. but to be tied to a desk all day every day is not something I could handle. I checked into the link you mentioned, and it does look interesting. I might give that a try. 

I think it is great that you are collecting "clues" to what you love and have a passion for along the path of your life. Often we try to roll everything up into a neat career package (love for numbers, passion for protecting animals) when those things can be fulfilled in any number of ways. So I would encourage you to build on your strengths with your educational choice but don't allow a major to dictate your path. Does that make sense? 

And you can try any number of ideas out (part time positions, even entrepreneurial ventures) while you are taking classes in college.  This is a super exciting time for you. Keep your options open while you are walking forward. Please let us know how you are making out!

I see someone already suggested coaching. My mom is a certified coach through coach approach ministries. Her niche is "spiritual growth," however, her training is very diversified and can help people in all walks of life, including career alignment. She has a scholarship program for clients that significantly decreases the hourly rate as well. She's over at www.kristicoaching.com.

Jonathan over at http://jonathanmilligan.com/store/ has a lot of cool career resources as well.

Good luck in this new stage of your life!

Blake,  

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