How many decisions will you make today? Maybe it started with how many times to hit the snooze button. Should you wear the red shirt or white one? You may or may not put a lot of thought into those decisions, but with the start of a new academic year many of you are thinking a lot about your career plans and making choices that will get you one step closer to your goals. It's important to recognize the value of taking an active role in these decisions.
What does it mean to be an active decision-maker? You are taking responsibility for your choices and the consequences, and not leaving the decision to someone else or purely to chance. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and take control of where you go and when! Active decisions require conscious thought and often take feelings, beliefs, and consequences into consideration. You can't make an active decision if you don't know what the potential consequences of each alternative are. That's why it's so important to research your career options before making a choice.
Five Steps to Active Decision Making:
1. Write out a list of alternatives.
2. Consider the negative and positive consequences for each. You may need to do some research to make sure you know what you are really getting into! Talk to people who have chosen both so that you have information about all the options.
3. Consider feelings (your own, and if someone else is involved, theirs). What is your gut telling you? Be honest with yourself and don’t ignore how you feel about the decision. Don’t just make the decision with your head; your heart plays a role too!
4. Consider your beliefs and values. What is important to you? When you look back on your college experience, what do you want to be able to say about it? Will you regret missing out on something, or not spending enough time on academics? What do you want your future to look like? Your beliefs and values will help you create the life that you want for yourself.
5. Talk it out with someone you trust (who won't try to influence your decision). An honest and objective opinion can be invaluable. Sometimes, it just takes talking through the options out loud with someone to see what it is that you really want.
If you are struggling with any decision related to your career plans (What major should I be in? What kind of internship should I do? Do I want to take a year off before going to graduate school?), our office is here to help! Freshmen – check out the Just Who Will I Be? workshop series.
There are two more times that you can register for in October. Any CALS student can also make an appointment to see a career advisor either online
or by calling (919) 515-3249.