6 practical suggestions for student career counseling

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career counseling

Graduation is around the corner after endless years of writing essays, researching and creating academic presentations. This is a time of uncertainty and stress for students who have devoted their lives to various courses, industries and fields. Many students’ first interview comes only after they graduate, which makes it difficult for them to commit to a career path in the near future.

1. Create a long-term career goal

Most students are not thinking about their long-term happiness. Instead, they focus on the day-today management of life, which may lead them to make less-than-ideal career decisions in the future. Asking yourself what you want from life is the best way to start your career counseling.

In 10 years, do you plan to become the CEO of your company? Do you want to work as an activist for a non-profit organization and travel the world to improve it? This type of thinking, while initially frightening, will lead you to a concrete goal that can be your long-term guide. You will be able to make better career decisions because you have already set a goal for the future.

2. Reflect on Extracurricular Activities & Hobbies

Your future career may already be hidden in your past activities, depending on how you lived as a student. Hobbies and extracurriculars can be easily transformed into full-time careers, career development opportunities, and possible startups.

If you were a part of your college’s book club, or writing group, then why not think about becoming a librarian, or even a bookstore owner? Reflect on your extracurricular activities from college and see how you liked or disliked them. You might be surprised by what you find.

3. Mind Map Your Likes and Dislikes

You can only do so much in terms of career counseling while you are still a student. Mind mapping is a great way to determine what you enjoy or dislike. To create a map of your mind, you only need a piece of paper, some coloured pens, and some time.

Write down your positives and negatives. Put in the positive section if you enjoy spending time in public, with people, and discussing important global issues. Put it in the negative section if you hate travelling to work each day. This kind of self-reflection can be very helpful in determining your career path and identifying personal development opportunities.

4. Contact your student acquaintances

Ask your friends or acquaintances what they plan to do if you’re a recent graduate, or are about to complete your formal education. People who share your plans will want to talk about the future in more detail with you, which can lead to opportunities for collaboration.

Not uncommon for college friends to collaborate and start a business or NGO after graduation. You will realize that your peers are all going through similar changes. Your colleagues’ support is vital when you are about to graduate.

5. Consult with a Professor or Mentor Figure

Most students don’t realize that professors themselves were once students – and some of them not so long ago. Consult professors, career counselors and people you regard as mentors (such your parents or sport trainers).

Take their advice with a grain of salt. Older generations lived and studied at a different time than us. You should evaluate every suggestion, comment or piece of advice you receive objectively. Listen to the advice of your elders, and then compare it to what you plan to do in the future.

6. You can do more than just get a degree

At first, it might seem counterproductive to consider a career which does not revolve around your academic degree. It makes sense, however, given that many academic courses are multi-industry.

If you hold a degree in business, you may want to consider opening your own company or becoming a consultant. If you have a graphic design degree, you could work as a freelance artist or in the marketing department of a large company. They are not a shackle that holds us back. Instead, they help us decide the career we want to pursue in the future. Explore career options outside of your field of expertise. You may find interesting opportunities.

The conclusion 

The best thing that you can do is relax. Graduation is only another step in your life. You have achieved a great deal more by graduating than most people did at your age. You should be proud of your accomplishments and realize that you can achieve great things because you persevered to earn an academic degree.

Explore your options and take your time. There are endless possibilities when it comes your career. If you do not like your career path you can change it and try another. Do not compromise your goals and do not settle for less than what you are truly worth. The right career is waiting for you.