Deciding Your Career Path: How JFCS Can Help You

When you’re little and your parents ask you what you want to be when you grow up, you might have replied: an astronaut, a firefighter, a pop star, or a princess. When people grow up they don’t often have a definite answer like they did when they were kids. Choosing what type of career you want is difficult and sometimes it may seem impossible. It’s hard to evaluate your strengths to see what kind of career might be a good fit, especially when you have low confidence in your abilities and yourself. The same situation happened to Ann, who at the time of her uncertainty was a rising college sophomore.

Ann began the University of Miami majoring in Biology with the hopes of being a veterinarian. Although part of UM’s appeal was its distance, being far from home was harder than she had expected. At the beginning of her first semester, Ann joined the dance team, hoping it would be as fun and rewarding as it was in high school. Unfortunately, it took up too much of her time, kept her from branching out and meeting others on campus, and also had a negative effect on her grades. Despite her straight ‘A’ record in high school, her heavy course load of math and science at UM proved overwhelming. After many discussions with her family, Ann decided it would be best to transfer to the University of Kentucky after her freshman year.

After her first year at UM, Ann decided she didn’t want to major in Biology or pursue veterinary science. After transferring to UK, Ann didn’t want to make the same mistake she did at UM by choosing a major that wasn’t a good fit for her. Amidst Ann’s confusion and uncertainty, Ann’s mom, who had heard about JFCS’ long track record in helping young people decide on a major and career path, decided she wanted Ann to see if they could help her.

Erin Heakin, who specializes in guiding high school and college students in deciding their futures, began assessing and counseling Ann. Together they identified several areas in the “Allied Health Field” that would be a good fit, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, speech pathology or optometry. Ann was interested but she didn’t know much about those fields. With Erin’s assistance, Ann made a plan to explore her different options. During the summer, Ann completed some informational interviews with people working in the fields she was considering. Once school started, Ann attended meetings of the Physical Therapy Student Association and met with some of the academic advisors and professors in those same fields. After a semester at UK, Ann decided she would pursue a degree in Health Science with the plan to go to graduate school and become a Speech Pathologist.

Through the assessment and counseling she received from JFCS, Ann was able to improve her low self-esteem and identify her strengths. JFCS helped Ann gain confidence in her abilities and her decision to pursue Speech Pathology. This summer, Ann, who is thankful to JFCS and Erin for their help, is gaining related work experience by working at a camp for children with special needs.

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