Elizabeth Montiel-Alvarado, Campus Carrier staff writer
This week, the Academic Success Center (ASC), the Office of Academic Transitions, and the Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) hosted Major and Career Exploration Week. Each day will focus on a different topic, intended to help students learn more about the majors offered at Berry and answer any pending questions.
“Someone might look at this week and say that’s for people who don’t know but it’s for everyone. It’s always good to strengthen connections with faculty and immerse yourself in the community,” Sarah Wells Kaufman, Associate Director for Academic Transitions said.
According to what was heard from students throughout the year, the Office of Academic Transitions and the CPPD collaborated to determine what to focus on during each event this week.
“We were thinking about multiple ways for students to interact with the content we wanted to deliver, and we were also thinking of what students want to know and what questions they might have regarding their major and career or just thinking of those things broadly,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman is currently teaching a BCC 100 class for students who came to Berry this spring semester.
“I really encourage my students this semester and last to get connected; this is a great way for them to meet faculty in a non-threatening way and to build connections,” Kaufman said.
Unlike office hours, which focus more on individual classes, these events will be more social. Students will get the opportunity to converse with others and talk about life and educational goals.
“At a large event, you can get a lot of information while at a smaller event, you can do more of a workshop and be more hands-on,” Kaufman said.
Besides offering students the opportunity to explore other majors and studies, the event also seeks to alleviate the stigma associated with uncertain educational choices.
“I think it is really great to normalize not knowing what you want your major to be and to normalize changing a major. Both of those things are great things to do,” Anna Sharpe, Associate Dean for Student Success said.
Between the time students apply to Berry and then actually enroll, students may change their minds and consider other majors. “It’s crazy to think that students know exactly what they want to study when they are 17 years old and they click ‘yes I do want to come to Berry,’” said Sharpe.
According to the U.S Department of Education, about 30% of undergraduates change their major at least once within their associates or bachelor’s degree programs.
“I hope that students can see that just because you major in one thing, it does not mean you’re going to be stuck in it for life,” Modi Rowe, Student Director for Academic Transitions said.
Before Rowe was the student director, she was a first-year mentor for a BCC 100 class for first-year students with undecided majors.
“These events, as a student and someone who has mentored those who are undecided majors, can be really helpful in verbalizing and organizing what we offer at Berry,” Rowe said.
Although Berry provides catalogs and websites for all majors offered, it can be challenging to navigate through them all.
“Events like these help to categorize and put all the majors Berry offers in a succinct time because looking at the catalogs can be really overwhelming,” Rowe said.
Ultimately, all the events of the week will lead up to tomorrow, which will be a major declaration celebration.
“So, really its thinking about this holistic experience of what it takes to make a decision you feel really good about as a student and to choose a pathway and begin walking in that direction,” Rowe said.