As the Fall Semester wages on, many are set to graduate this Winter and conclude their undergraduate journey. As one of those students, I have been surprised at how fast the time has gone and how close to fully “adulting” I am. Whether you plan to continue into graduate studies, work a full-time position, or take the trip of your dreams, know that you deserve it and are destined to succeed. There are many stigmas out there, such that a bachelor's degree is useless and most fields require higher education. I have heard this before many times as a Psychology major. When in fact, there are many positions open to those who complete a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology; you just might need to be open to not being employed at your original choice and put yourself out there to make acquaintances who may be able to help you attain the positions you want.
In the age of inflation, economic instability and so much more going on, adulting may seem like a scary time, especially for those of us who expect to venture out into the real world after graduating. According to Psychology Today, older adulthood is seen as a period of stability and well-being. However, in the state of the current world, adulthood is being threatened, as many are not able to enter the job market and make the income they would have made in previous years before the pandemic and current economic conditions. Many adults are having to work multiple jobs on top of their full-time job because a 9-5 income simply isn’t enough. So here is my advice to those of you who are not yet concluding your undergraduate journey, some I wish I was told earlier on:
1. Before committing to a major, browse job recruiting sites for all the career possibilities it can lead to.
Many people major in areas they believe will be easy or that they have some interest in. However, when they discover it’s not a lucrative field or requires more than a Bachelor’s Degree they begin to think “college is a scam” and their degree will not be worth it. To avoid this, look into the earning salary of the fields you have a desire to pursue. While you can set your heart on one job, ALWAYS have backups in mind.
2. Ask those you know or see about their career and their salary, to get an idea of what you may be interested in or not.
Given Hunter College’s location in a prestigious area in NYC, walking around or on the train, you will see people dressed in business attire heading to work. Start a conversation with them on your commute asking them basic questions about their career and the path they took to get there. This also helps with building connections that you may be able to use one day!
3. Have a backup major or Career plan in case you find uninterest or difficulty in your major of choice.
More often than not, what you’re interested in may change from your childhood to your present. If this happens, do not wait until the last minute to switch your major; do it as soon as possible so you can fulfill the credit requirement on time. If you find that your major for your dream job is too hard, find a major closely related to it that you can still use for that dream job.
4. Meet with Advisors from your major or students who have already been declared in that area.
The Psychology Advisors in my experience have been amazing (Eli Rodríguez, in particular) and have asked me questions about the future that I had not even thought of before. Advisors can help you explore the options you were unaware of and point you in the direction best for you based on the information you share with them. Other majors may not have as great advisors, so instead use your peers who have already declared and completed their major requirements to learn of their experiences, the do’s and don't, and of the professors.
5. Write and graph out your plans. While your plans may not end up coming true and your path may completely change, holding yourself accountable and taking steps to secure your future will be beneficial.
While our future selves aren’t completely up to us, the decisions we make do affect our future. Being productive and getting a head start in the field of your choice, whether it’s through volunteering, interning, or working in the field (e.g., law firm, clinic, doctor’s office, school, etc). This can prepare you for the responsibilities your future position will have and allow you to make acquaintances along the way.
In the end, all we can do is try our best. And while your best may not lead you to the path you imagined, the new path can be just as good for you. As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Ready, B. (2012). Aging and Emotions. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-quality-life/201208/aging-and-emotions