As we wrap up this course, I hope you will reflect on all the progress you have made since starting the class. In the beginning of the course we discussed How Did I Get Here?, evaluating the different events, missteps, stumbles, and “failures” that led to your academic struggles. We have discussed time management, study skills, metacognition, test preparation, and self-care. The course has encouraged you to be curious and embrace past “failures” so they are view as moments of growth and opportunity moving forward. And we have covered identity development, ownership & autonomy, as well as life beyond UGA. Through all of these topics you have grown, you have enriched your academic outlook and your personal goal setting.

In this last module you are reminded that you can do this! Though there are going to be struggles, there are going to be challenges that you face, please remember that you can do this!

Where Can You Go From Here?

The question is even more personal and a little different: Where can you go? Where do you want to go? And, perhaps more importantly, why?

Learning about yourself, whether through simple reflection or formal analysis, it is important to find your place. But consider the importance and reality of change and your openness to it. Regardless of your major, you will embark on a job and a career that will change many times over the course of your life. You’ll likely change responsibilities, roles, companies, you may even change industries. Even if you join a company one week after graduation and stay with it until you retire, the job and the company won’t remain the same. The world moves far too quickly for that, which is a good thing. All of those changes are opportunities to improve yourself and get closer to the “why” of your work: your purpose. Your purpose is the answer to all types of questions that people may ask you. “Do you like your job?” “How did you get into that?” “Is it worth it?” But more importantly, your purpose is the answer to all types of questions that you should ask yourself. If you keep asking yourself those questions and give yourself time to answer, you’ll have the best understanding of not only what you want to do, but why.

You may find out that no single job or career is going to fulfill your purpose. If your foremost goal—your ideal—is being a good parent, your job might simply be the financial means to help accomplish that. If you want to eradicate poverty, you may do that through a job plus volunteer work plus a management position at a foundation. Don’t think, however, that you can’t fulfill your purpose within your career. It may take a few tries and restarts, but you can make a widespread impact in a number of ways. Furthermore, if you’re having trouble entering a career-oriented purpose through the “front door,” your skills and abilities might get you in through the side door.

Keep pushing yourself, and never settle for just ok.

This material is from College Success – an Openly Licensed textbook on how to succeed in college. Chapter 12. 

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

In psychology, advertising, education, and other disciplines, researchers and professionals use a concept called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In essence, it’s a progression that starts with satisfying our most basic, physical needs (food, shelter) and moves through our more social and societal needs (cooperation, belonging) to our highest needs—feeling fulfilled and complete. (This brief description oversimplifies a rather detailed theory.)

Given this base introduction, consider how Maslow’s theory applies to your future. At the bottom, your most basic needs are fulfilled by a job. It pays the bills, keeps you secure, and puts food on your table. At the next level is your career. Your career is more consistent; you invest more in it and probably are more heavily rewarded. In your career, you’ll likely build up relationships over time, both professional and personal, creating a sense of community and belonging. Some people will come to associate you with your career, and you may feel partly defined by it. But it likely won’t fulfill you all on its own.

At the highest level, the level that allows you to become more fulfilled and complete, is your purpose. That’s the piece you strive for, the piece that helps you navigate your path. It’s what you may see yourself still moving toward in a later part of your life. It’s what you most want or even need to accomplish.

Image of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

This adapted version of Maslow’s hierarchy aligns different aspect of your pathway with the different levels and type of needs we have as humans.

Just as you’ll likely have more than one job and even more than one career, you will have more than one purpose. You will even have them at the same time. You can be 100% driven to be the best possible therapist and 100% driven to be the best possible older sibling, all while being 100% driven to continually deepen your knowledge of yoga. Your time and your focus will be split between them, but they will still each fulfill you. As you get older and gain experiences, both positive and negative, your priorities may change. But you’ll be successful as long as you adhere to the principles we’ve discussed and the qualities, values, and abilities you’ve identified in yourself. College offers you the opportunity to keep asking yourself the best, most challenging questions, all while you have many people dedicated to helping you find the answers. Those answers may surprise you, but the important thing is to keep asking and keep learning.

This material is from College Success – an Openly Licensed textbook on how to succeed in college. Chapter 12.

Planning and Decision-Making

Planning and decision-making are continuous processes, but if you’re reading this text you presumably have a specific educational end goal in mind—you want to graduate with a degree! After you’ve decided on a degree and major path, you’re already well-prepared to begin your academic planning. Use the resources discussed in this course and available at your college or school to draft your plan, and then review it with others who can provide feedback. If you’re considering changing your degree and major, you have some work ahead of you before you can craft a more detailed academic plan.

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure you are pursuing a major that’s right for you:

  • Consider your interests and skills. Your Academic Advisor and/or the Career Center can connect you with an academic and career path through discussion about your interests and skills. These offices and individuals often provide interest and skills tests that offer a starting point for your discussion. There are also free assessments available on the internet, such as O*Net Interest Profiler, that can help identify your interests and skills and match them with careers and related majors.
  • Consider the future. Imagine yourself in job. What types of tasks or work environments are attractive to you? Is there anything you would absolutely hate to do that you can already rule out? Also consider the future of work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook identifies some career fields as having a bright outlook with expected job growth in the future. Ideally, you’ll want to study for a career that’s growing, not declining.
  • Consider your preferred lifestyle. Although we all like to have a balanced life, perhaps it’s less important to you to follow your interests and more important to follow the bottom line. If your preferred lifestyle will require that you make a high salary, you’ll want to research those jobs that are highest paying and take note of the degrees and majors that prepare you for those fields.

This material is from College Success – an Openly Licensed textbook on how to succeed in college. Chapter 4.

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

You are going to have challenges, obstacles, and setbacks in your life. You have already faced some adversity with your academics, hence why you are enrolled in this class. My hope is that through this course, through this whole process on your return to the University of Georgia you have recognized the steps you want and need to take to ensure your success. You success academically, relationally, emotionally, mentally, professionally, and personally.

In this video author Luvvie Ajayi Jones challenges you to speak your mind, be authentic, push back against injustices when you see them. And when it is time to say these hard things, to address these issues in your life, she prompts us to ask ourselves three questions: 1. Did you mean it? 2. Can you defend it? and 3. Did you say it with love? If you can answer all three with a definitive yes, then say it and be confident in that position.

This module is titled: “You can do this!”, I hope you know that yes you can. You have the tools, the techniques, and the resources to support you through this process. I hope you have now identified the confidence in yourself to keep pushing, keep striving towards your goals. Be bold in your words and your actions. Don’t be embarrassed on your past, of any previous stumbles or “failures” you may have. Because you know that those were learning experiences and moments that have shaped you into the person you are today.

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