COLUMN: University lacks resources for students working ahead

As a first-year college student, my life has changed drastically in the course of a couple of months. From moving away from home and adapting to my new home away from home to learning how college life really works, this experience has been very stressful. Now as a “freshman” I am having to decide a minor to go along with my major in a few weeks, with little help and guidance from the school. The University should be offering more help and guidance for students in my position.  

I came into my first year of college with 40 hours of dual credit college credits. This technically makes me a sophomore in terms of hours. I am a psychology major, and what comes with this is a required minor that I must decide “later on.” 

While I am so very grateful to be ahead of my projected timeline, to graduate early and to have saved a lot of money in the long run, it is an overwhelming place to be. I just started my college life a couple of months ago, where I had to decide the major that I would be using for the rest of my life. Now, I am having to decide a minor and the focus of where my career is going as an 18-year-old in my first semester of college.  

The news came to me as a shock. I found out in my advising meeting for next semester. I knew I was ahead and had more hours, but it didn’t hit me that I would be deciding this so soon. They simply told me that my schedule for next semester would be very messed up if I chose to not declare a minor. I feel like I should have been told before this that I would need to be thinking about this big choice.  

My advisor here at SFA has been more than helpful. She has helped and encouraged me in this process and assured me that my options are very good choices. But, she cannot tell me what to do or what to pick. She can only offer some guidance during this tough time.  

I believe that there should be more guidance for students who are in my position. High schools and even colleges don’t really have a way to help students who are ahead in school. They only offer basic services, and they should offer more help to students who are struggling in these choices. While most students appreciate the help from advisors, they can only do so much.  

I can go so many ways with my major, and if I am going to be putting money towards my minor, I would like to actually use it in the future. But as someone who is so young, I am having to decide the fate and focus of my future all now, while most people my age are nowhere near this level.  

I tend to stress very easily. After only recently recovering from midterms and the end of the semester being just around the corner, it feels like I’m under water. I know, though, that I will make it out of this, even though it feels like a setback.  

I know whatever I decide to go with will be worth it in the end. I just have this fear that I will make the wrong choice and regret it years down the line. Wherever this decision takes me, I only hope that it will benefit me. 

The University should offer more for students that are narrowing down their majors and getting further into their hours. It is a scary decision, but college is scary and becoming an adult is scary; I just wish someone had told me and helped me through this choice ahead of time. 

(3) comments

Shannon.Morrison

Hi Isabella,

My name is Shannon and I am a Student Success Coordinator at the SFA Student Success Center. We advise Undecided major students up to 45 credit hours. I would be happy to help you with this decision by providing some resources on careers and minors. I know this can be a tough decision. I am here to help!

Shannon Morrison

Student Success Coordinator

Student Success Center

Steen Library, Room 203

Stephen F. Austin State University

Shannon.morrison@sfasu.edu

936-468-5804

wlong

Isabella:

SFA has a team that is dedicated to help you choose your major and minor. They have tests that you can take that will match your interests and personality with the jobs that people who are similar to you enjoy. Check out the Center for Career and Professional Development's CCPD Career Exploration page at:

https://www.sfasu.edu/ccpd/students-alumni/career-exploration

Then search for your job using the U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook:

https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

You can also search by major. For psychology, go to this link:

https://data.bls.gov/search/query/results?q=psychology

If you look at the first two links that you will receive from the search, you will see links to the occupation of Psychologists and the Field of Psychology. If you click on the occupation link and then click "See How to Become One" you'll discover that you need a doctorate to be a psychologist. If you click on the second link, you'll see information about the types of jobs available for people with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. If you click on that link, you can drill down to specific jobs by clicking on the links in Chart 2.

Psychologists: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Field of degree: Psychology: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Once you’ve chosen your major, you’ll need a minor that will help you excel in your chosen field. You can use the CCPD and BLS resources for this as well. These tools are designed to help you find the job that will be most rewarding to you. That job may be different than the jobs that 99% of your fellow psychology majors will enjoy and that difference should be reflected in the minor you choose.

Bill Long

SFA Department of Computer Science

Cutter Day

I also had the same issue happen with me!!!

I came in with 47 hours dual credit as a Theatre Education Major and got thrown into Theatre classes! I was also told I would have to apply to the college of education soon and had little time to do so!

I think honestly we maybe should monitor students dual credit and only let them take some basics. My dual credit hours hurt me more than anything coming to college!

I am now a Communication Studies Major, as I realized I wanted to do something else. It is very easy and sudden to get an "ah-ha" moment and change the way we think and this happened with me and my major.

We could do alot better in colligete life with more help on this issues.

Thank you so much for your article, It really feels good to know someone else has been having the same issues.

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