Many students leave high school worrying of the stigma pressed upon them of having life planned upon entering college. Eastern Michigan University’s Advising and Career Development Center (UADC) aimed to to defy this worry at last Wednesday’s Eagle Expo.
On Oct. 4 between 1 p.m.. and 4 p.m., representatives from different departments of EMU set up booths all around the Student Center Ballroom to make a case for their various complementing majors.
The goal of the expo is to make students more aware of the UACDC, and of the idea that there are more majors and to give students who are still undecided access to resources they may not have known they had.
“We find that students are looking for assistance,” Senior Academic Advisor Alicia Apperson said. “But they don’t know where they fit.”
Helping students find where they fit through exploration is the UACDC’s main mission with the Expo. The first thing every participant did when they walked in the doors was take a short, color coded checklist survey about their interests. The checklist, a revised version of the Strong Interest Inventory, was separated into six different colors indicating areas of interest. Booths were then set up corresponding with those colors and interests, so students interested in that area would have a greater chance of happening upon a major better suited for them.
Some departments had a very bare minimum display and advertisements, others had much more elaborate, eye catching set ups. For some of these more elaborate set ups, such as the display for the new Fermentation Science major, this expo was a way to ensure the program had a stronger future. According to Dr. Gregg Wilmes, co-founder of the major, the expo served as a way to reach to and talk with prospective students.
This passion-focused way of setting up the event was created in order for students to more effectively explore their options, and seek out groups that are best for them, not what they were told was best, according to UACDC members.
“We want to students to find their passions, their interests, their drive,” Career coach April Calkovsky said. “Not what other people told them they should pursue.”
The expo, and the UACDC at large, aims to combat the idea taught in many high schools that students should enter college with a fully fleshed out plan for their academic future, and effectively the rest of their adult life. This pressure can be paralyzing for students, and to many, is unrealistic.
“In high school, I’m barely starting to develop a mature mentality,” Freshman Josue commented. “But I still feel like I have to choose right, or I’ll end up paying more, or losing out.”
This idea that a student will pick one field and stick with it for the rest of their life doesn’t exist any more, according to Calkovsky.
“You’re going to have four, five, eight careers in your life,” Calkovsky commented. “We need to lay off the pressure of a forever job.”