Tuesday, 14 April 2015

'Help! I have changed my major three times'


With Carolyn Smith

Dear career advisor,
I have changed my major three times since starting university. At first I was doing English, then I switched to education and now I'm doing mass communication. The problem is, I still don't think it's the right fit. If I change again my parents are going to have a fit. What do I do?
Dear Brave (formerly Lost):
Firstly, you need to be commended for bravery in that you do not follow slavishly a path for which you perceive might not be what is right for you. It might be, however, that you now need to re-examine strategies you employ when making the decisions regarding your major. Based on your selections so far it appears that you have a leaning towards the liberal arts.
Understandably, your parents would be concerned if it is perceived that you are making these changes without due consideration (not to mention the expense incurred). Bear in mind, however, that no learning is wasted and even where academic credits are not transferrable to another programme, knowledge gained and skills developed can be of relevance to any industry.
The selection of a major is often associated with the career you intend to pursue. As a first step, therefore, it would be prudent for you to identify your desired career pathway which would then inform your selection of a major. Deciding on a career path may require that you:
i. Assess yourself. Career tests are valuable tools for doing this. Your Career Services Centre or your Counselling Services Centre are good places to get assistance.
ii. Create a list of careers for which you have interest and narrow the list after each step below
iii. Explore the options on your career list.
iv. Conduct Informational Interviews. This can be done face-to-face or 'follow' the individual's career progress on a professional network
v. Write a career action plan.
vi. Use the information gleaned about yourself and the desired career pathways to decide on your major
A systematic approach, such as suggested above, will assist you in making your career decision.

Dear career advisor,
I have been hearing a lot about the logistics hub and the number of jobs it is supposed to create.
What possibilities do you think there are for me? I have five CXCs and I am going to resit Maths in June.
Dear BA:
Congratulations on your attainment at the CSEC level and also for deciding to re-sit Mathematics. You may want to consider enrolling in a tertiary level programme to better prepare yourself for employment. Mathematics is usually a requirement for entry in most of these programmes. Additionally, mathematical reasoning abilities enhance your employability skills.
The term logistics hub is really the central area of operation in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. With the impending expansion of the Panama Canal, the industry is presently booming. It is a growing industry that ensures that goods and services are delivered to consumers on time. There are many types of jobs in this industry, which can be loosely categorised as:
+ Direct Services: managerial, skilled (egs. languages, Information Technology, sciences, environmental science, geography, mechanics) and non-skilled jobs (egs. drivers, warehousing, customer service) are included in this category
+ Indirect Services: These include positions in academia and training, production of goods, provision of services, language skills, and economics.
Undoubtedly, among the plethora of career opportunities that the proposed logistics hub will provide you would be able to find jobs for which you skills would be a great match.

Carolyn Smith director of Career & Employment Services at Northern Caribbean University. Contact her at