IU Southeast has implemented a new program called Pathways to help students feel comfortable around such people as future employers and CEOs. This conference offers useful resources to students if they are facing any uncertainties in the path they want to choose for their future.
The Pathways course was designed to incorporate students to interact with professionals in their field of choice and ask them general questions about their jobs.
“The first time we offered the Pathways course we had students separated into groups,” Donna Dahlgren, professor of psychology and director of Pathways said. “It was very hard for them because they weren’t warmed up with the professionals.”
Learning from previous experience, Dahlgren decided to do things differently.
“This time the pressure was put on the professionals to where they had to speak to the students for 10 minutes to break that barrier,” Dahlgren said. “The students then have a half-hour to ask each person on the panel any questions they may have.”
It is never too late to make a career change and you do not necessarily have to change your degree to change your career, Dahlgren said.
“Once you have a bachelor’s degree, you have a bachelor’s degree along with writing, thinking, and math skills,” Dahlgren said. “If you wanted to go into a field other than what your degree is in you can just change your focus.”
Volunteering is one way to enter into a new career if the student is looking to change their career path, Dahlgren said.
“That’s when the people skills you have learned will come into play,” Dahlgren said. “When interviewing for a different position and you mention you have a bachelor’s degree along with people and leadership skills you then become a very good candidate for the career you want to enter into.”
Rick Barney, chief marketing and public relations officer and co-owner of Focal Point Inc., said, half of the student population at Spalding University is older adults changing career paths.
“If you are spending a considerable amount of time in front of a video game and that’s your passion then you change your career to something that requires interaction with people then that would be a difficult change to make.”
People skills are required in virtually any industry especially hospitals.
“You can’t text your patients,” Barney said. “When I was just starting out in public relations, I would literally go to airports and introduce myself to people just to get comfortable with talking to people.”
There are certain ways to contact people for interviews or just requiring about a position.
“Do not introduce yourself to others electronically,” Barney said. “Get on the phone and call the person. Leave a message. Come to my office and sit there and introduce yourself to me. Not an e-mail.”
Sometimes it is not only about knowing how to talk to others but it is also good to know when to listen.”
Brandee Thomas, counselor at the Southern Indiana Treatment Center, said there has been a time in her life where she has had to speak to 40-year-old people like they were 10-year-old children because their comprehension was not there.
“Sometimes there are people who get offended over every word you say,” Thomas said. “Sometimes it’s good to keep opinions to yourself and just listen to others.”
One of the 25 students who attended the Pathways seminar was April Lamb, biology freshman.
“The original reason I came tonight was because it was required for my class,” Lamb said. “I’m really glad I came because it gave me insight on how important it is to do what you enjoy.”
Lamb said she was intrigued by what the professionals looked like.
“Every single one of them looked exactly like I pictured them to look like,” Lamb said. “They all definitely fit their professions.”
Lamb recommends everyone to attend the Pathways course, even if they are already set on a career.
“If you couldn’t attend this one or the others that are scheduled, then check up on it,” Lamb said. “Look to see who the professionals are that is going to attend. It’s really an eye opening event.”
By TINA REED