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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...
OK, I've made some decisions...
As much as I loved 'Intro to Cinema', I'm going to keep that a hobby on the side for now and will study more as I have time.
Due to the fact that my current work schedule and my school's schedule for all the science classes don't mix, I am going to take my American History II class, and add Marketing and Small Business Operations classes for the Spring (for basic information and for my side businesses).
Then, within the next few months (this is a closed forum, right?) I will look for work that allows me to work second shift or from home so I can move on with my science classes. I say 'the next few months' because I have a three week vacation scheduled to visit family and think it might be a challenge to find new work right before needing to take three weeks off. I am determined to find new work after that since the mass-exodus from work is by most of the people I enjoyed working with and because it's been time for a change anyway, I really don't need to be there anymore, there's no upward mobility and they've now decided not to give raises anymore either. I've been there almost 9 years, so I'm ready for something different.
As for choosing a career path, I have contacted the University I am most likely to transfer to, and asked for assistance in choosing the right major. I have contacted their advisor for the Biology department, because I'm going to go with that direction, but will need some advice in fine-tuning that (they have several options and some of their research projects look very interesting). This particular University takes me off the beaten path that I was looking into previously, but it is a well-known and highly regarded University and actually opens up many more options for me in the Biology arena. Also, this decision is partially being made by the recognition that I'm not financially in a position to move across country for some other degree programs that might work as well. This University is within driving distance from my home.
And, as far as my finances go, I am going to start my blog this weekend (yes, finally!) and just see what happens with it. At least it'll give me practice and experience.
And, likely after my vacation, I will take steps to begin my dog training business, since I'm already certified and the most recent podcast encouraged me greatly. Specifically, the section where Dan said his massage therapist gets massages and he as a coach gets coaching still. That was one hurdle I didn't know how to overcome, because I thought that before I deserved to be a professional dog trainer, I had to have perfectly trained dogs myself. And that once I was a dog trainer, I couldn't go to someone else for classes. Now I realize that, with some level of discretion of course, I can still take my own dogs to classes (I like them for the controlled environment and opportunity for socialization) and it allows me to learn from others in the field as well.
So, we'll see how well I do following through, but I tend to do well once I make a decision.
I went by school today to talk to the counselor again. They weren't much help, as previously, but I did find out that Texas has a law that states that you can only have 45 credits beyond what your degree requires before you have to pay more than the regular resident rates. Since I started with an Accounting Degree and have now switched to a Science Major, that's good to know and I will need to hold off on the Cinema classes until I'm done with school, so they don't bump me over the limit. I will also change my plans for the Spring semester since the science classes were not fitting with my work schedule and I though I'd take Small Business Operations and Marketing along with my required Hist II class. I will have to make a way for one of the science classes to fit in somehow.
Also, I started a blog! But before I publish my first blog post, which I've already written, I'm having one or two people read it first. Excited and intimidated by that...
That's all for now!
Hi, Christina! Congratulations on returning to school.
I'm a counselor in private practice but previously worked in a college advisement center and also wrote a textbook about college success (including choosing a major), so I have a pretty fair amount of knowledge on the area. In my experience, many college career or advising centers are totally dependent upon the time of day/year you attend and the counselor you "draw." Some are excellent and some are very poorly trained to merely fit you into classes based on what you say that you are interested in. The best way to find out is to set up an appointment during a time of year when the career center is NOT busy. For most colleges, this is between the first day of school and the middle of October, then from mid-January to mid-April. Summer months are also much less busy, except for weeks when high school college tours or orientation sessions are going on. The key is NOT walking in off the street without an appointment and NOT doing so during a period that everyone is registering for classes. You also want to ask the counselor for some really solid advice on career/major choice, NOT simply class selection and registration.
Alright, I've done it!
I've finally figured out what I'm doing, where I'm going and how to get there.
I've talked to a recruiter from the University I am transferring to, I have registered for the once a semester big tour they do to get to know the campus and talk to people from the different departments, I've contacted a realtor in the area of the school and am looking into what I can do right now to stream line my life to make it easier when I get there. I will have to sell my current house and move, but I'm excited about it.
This is why I'm sharing: I wavered for YEARS concerning what I wanted to do with my life and I've tried to come up with options that were creative or easy for me to step into and I was never quite happy with it. I finally figured out why it was so hard for me to commit to anything! I couldn't commit because I was afraid to go after my real dream of becoming a Veterinarian and I was trying to talk myself out of that and into anything similar that wouldn't require as much of me. I was afraid because I had made some bad choices in my late teens that derailed my life for a while and I was punishing myself for them all this time. I'm done with that! I have wanted to get into the medical field since I was in Elementary School. Veterinary Medicine since I was a young teen. Anyway, my life got off track, initially through no fault of my own, but later through some bad choices I made, mostly taking bad advice from people I thought were trustworthy. Now that I realize it, I'm also mature enough to realize that my chances to make it into a highly competitive field are slim, BUT I am more afraid of never trying than I am of failing at this point, so I am going for it. Hopefully, I'll make it into Vet School. If I don't, it'll be okay and I'll figure something out, but I'm not going to live in fear anymore and I'm not going to settle for less than what I really want anymore. I have one life to live and I'm going to really live it! It's taken me long enough to get to this point, I'm not turning back now. The last few weeks have been life-changing for me and I'm excited about the future. Maybe this will help some other people recognize why they have trouble making decisions in their own life. Maybe it's not indecision, or not knowing, maybe it's fear to go after a dream that seems too big? At some point I had to start asking 'why not me?'
Christina...congrats on making the decision - having that goal in front of you is much easier than living in the land of indecision. Wishing you the best in your journey forward!
Thank you, Jen!
It's a daunting path, but I'm excited!
Are you sure you need a degree to do what you want? I am a firm believer, (and living proof) that a degree isn't always the answer. In fact in my circle (and I know a few doctors and lawyers) degrees have been a bad investment.
I know many people with degrees who make $40k-$80k. I know many, many more who make over $100 without degrees.
If you get clear on what you want to do, you will know if you need a degree or not.
If you aren't clear, a degree is often (not always) less than worthless, it's a waste of time and money.
I appreciate your concern, and after listening to Dan's podcasts I really have tried to get around going back for a degree, but to be a Veterinarian I will have to have one. I'm okay with that, I love school and I don't mind working hard. I recognize the risks involved since there aren't very many Vet schools and the competition to get in is tough. It's worth it though and I'm not going to quit until I've given it my all. Worst case scenario, I redirect into a different medical career with the degree I'll have at that point. I already have all my core classes anyway, so I get to dig right into the sciences! Looking for alternate plans is exactly what I meant when I said I was looking for an easier or faster way to accomplish something and be happy. That works for a lot of people, probably is possible for most, but it was never my dream, so working for Veterinarians, at a horse ranch, volunteering at an Animal Shelter, and becoming a Certified Dog Trainer, though I found joy in all of those, none fulfilled me, none were exactly what I wanted, they were my consolation prize to myself for messing up my life and not getting to live my dream. I don't want to be another ten years down the road still wondering 'what if?'. In ten years I'll either be a vet living my dream, or I'll know I did my best and will have moved on to something else. No more 'what if's for me. Life is going on as I sit and wait. I've done enough of that. Again, I appreciate your concern, but i know what I want now and I'm going to go after it. You're right, there are ways to make a lot of money with a lot less schooling (and expense), but this isn't about just making more money, this is about what I'm on earth to do and I'm more excited about that than anything.
If your calling is Vet then you're right, school isn't optional! Good luck.
Thank you, John!
You're suggestion made me think and allowed me to confirm again that I am sure about this. It is appreciated!
Thanks so much for the updates here. It's exciting to see you getting increased clarity and confidence about moving forward with specific goals. Go for it!
Thank you, Dan!
Full steam ahead for me.
I appreciate your encouragement (and correction) along the way, it was necessary and helped me.