Answers to top career questions for your time at Kent State
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Being the new kid on the block can be confusing, intimidating and overwhelming. Many incoming freshmen have a lot of unanswered questions and may not know who to ask. Fortunately, we’ve all been there, so we’ve compiled a list of questions we wish we would’ve known as freshmen and sat down with Carla Owens, associate director for career education at the Career Services Center, to find out her answers.
Q: How do you go about getting an on-campus job?
A: On-campus student employment is through Career Services Center, and individuals need to go on our website at www.kent.edu/career. In order to search for jobs, you need to log on to our Experience Job and Internship Board, and they’ll find that on the right hand side of the page. Individuals create a free account using their FlashLine information, and they can search for on-campus and off-campus student employment. The most important aspect is before they apply for a job, they get their paperwork done and out of the way. Paperwork needs to be completed in person.
Q: How do I know I’m in the right major?
A: First of all, I would ask for clarification from the individual, and that is, what prompted them to declare that major? Most individuals declare a major before they’ve even clarified their career goals. They first need to understand why they declared their major. They need to know what they can do with the major and if they would enjoy and excel in it.
Q: Where do I go if I want to switch/declare a major?
A: I want to ensure that individuals know that the sooner they do this, the better. Delaying is going to have long-lasting consequences. Those consequences could be poor grades, lack of interest in certain classes or not understanding the purpose or direction of why they’re at Kent State. Worst of all, they may realize Kent State doesn’t even have the major that they want. It could also be costing students more money. Many times we see an individual come to us as a senior or recent grad and they realize they chose the wrong major. At that point, their options are to go into a field that they don’t like or to go get another four-year degree, two-year degree, or a master’s degree. For changing majors, it used to be you had to make an appointment with the office of where you wanted to declare the new major, but now there’s a new option that individuals can actually change their major online through FlashLine.
Q: What are the most popular majors?
A: Top 5 first-time freshmen majors
Q: When should I start looking for an internship?
A: Internships are sometimes required for certain majors. Surprisingly, it’s not as many majors on campus as you would think. You can begin doing an internship as early as your sophomore year. Junior year is a more traditional time for most. I would encourage individuals to look into an internship when they feel they have a pretty good idea of what they want to do and want to test the waters. I would encourage students not to look at internships until they’ve had the relevant course work under their belt. But it’s not uncommon for someone to do two to three internships.
Q: What’s the best way to network within my program/college?
A: You certainly cannot underestimate the value of networking. I want to make it very clear that networking is a term that brings fear into a lot of people. I like to remind individuals that you network every day. They’re going to be doing it with new students they meet, their new roommate and their roommate’s parents. Normalizing the situation makes it easier to navigate networking. It’s important to recognize that you don’t have to be an extrovert to network. For example, an individual who is an extrovert would probably be very comfortable calling someone in their specific career field and doing an informational interview. We always encourage a site visit if possible so you can see their environment, and you can sell yourself better in person. We can help them craft a script, or they could get on LinkedIn and create a profile and join some user groups related to a topical area.
Q: How can I get involved on campus?
A: It’s important to make Kent State your home, whether you’re a commuter or a residential student. The more successful students at Kent State are those who connect with people in as many events and organizations as possible and who have also connected with their faculty members and support staff. We often see that freshmen struggle with segmenting their time and don’t realize how much time they’re wasting. So get involved with as much on campus as possible and get connected and be known by your professors.
Q: What are some tips if students start feeling overwhelmed with class work and extracurricular activities?
A: I would encourage getting as much support as possible from staff. I think students would be surprised of the number of individuals on campus who are willing to go to bat for them. The counseling center is a great option, too, and it’s free. Make your needs known, and don’t be afraid to talk to your professor. Interventions, early, are the most critical element to remember.