Title: Career Counselor
Company / Department: USF Career Services Center
Major(s), Minor(s), Program(s):
Bachelor of Science in Public Policy with concentration in Public Governance, Minor in Urban Education; Master of Education in College Student Affairs Administration
Previous Major(s), Minor(s), Program(s):
Psychology, Graphic Design and Early Childhood Education
What attracted you to your initial major(s) and minor(s)?
I always knew I wanted to help people, but couldn’t decide on how to help people. I wanted to keep it broad so I chose Psychology, hoping to learn more about behavior and motivation.
What inspired you to change program(s)?
I was struggling through the readings and assignments in the INTRO to psych class, so I thought maybe I made a bad choice. Plus, I was really bored!
Reflecting on my artistic skills and background in performing arts, I concluded that a creative job would suit me best. Since there was (and still is) a big push for people building technical skills and working with computers, I convinced myself that graphic design would be the best fit. Then, I got scared of the freelancing world, so I bailed and went back to thinking about jobs dedicated to helping people.
During high school, I had worked at daycares and helped with young children at my church, so I quickly switched to Early Childhood Education. Emphasis on quickly. I barely did research and didn’t talk to any teachers, alumni or current students. A year into my program, I was assigned several observations and projects in the field. I realized that spending 8 hours with them, managing their behaviors, disciplining them, and keeping them focused on subjects that also bored me was not my cup of tea!
However, I was concerned about the teachers doing this really challenging work and how little they got paid. I finally switched over to Public Policy, hoping to learn more about the Education in the US and advocating for teachers in my community.
What did you like best about your major(s) and minor(s)?
Public policy was perfect for me! I was sitting in class with like-minded people: those who wanted to serve their communities, help people, and make big changes in the world. All the assignments and projects were based on real-world problems, which was great for a pragmatic person like myself. I also enjoyed writing professional memos because they challenged me to write concisely (we had a one-page limit).
My minor in Urban Education was great for staying connected to my interest in the education sector. Plus, it also helped me get internships in nonprofits that support K-12 students!
What was most challenging about your major(s) and minor(s)?
I think explaining my major to my mom was the most challenging aspect of my job. I speak Korean fluently, and my mom understands some English, but a). I couldn’t figure out how to say Public Policy without it sounding like I’m only interested in public service, and b). I didn’t choose a career path yet, so she was confused as to why I was getting this degree.
How did your major(s) and minor(s) prepare you for your career?
I’m a big picture thinker, so I pay attention to the policies on campus and how they may impact students on campus. I think it’s been helpful for me in my appointments with students to be aware of what their experiences are.
What resources helped you with your exploration journey?
Definitely our career center, my student organization and the guest speakers they invited, the leadership experience I had as a board member for a club, and the Internet! I used websites like Onetonline.org and 16personalities to figure out what to do with myself.
What advice do you have for students exploring majors?
Stay open-minded. You are going to meet new people, learn about new occupations, build new skills, and discover new interests! Don’t fear the changes and be open-minded to all the things that are coming your way. Also, go to the Career Services Center 🙂