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How do I know if the major I would like to choose is truly right for me ?

Although I am pretty confident that this would be my field of interest, I am still unsure about finalizing my decision for a major.

I am a high school Junior and want to be a Civil Engineer. I love Physics was nominated by my school for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute medal, and ended up receiving the award. Besides my love for Physics, I love creating art. I have taught this subject at multiple organizations to kids in grades from first to sixth grade. I also practice Archery in my spare time and recently attended Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

I would like to find aid in approaching resume writing and job applications so that I can gain more experience and figure out whether my chosen field is truly suited for me.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ron’s Answer

Hi Victoria!

Have you considered at architecture as a career? With your skills and passion for engineering and art, architecture might provide a career that satisfies your interests.

I would also look into the field of Industrial Design. I work for a Product Design and Development firm where we implement the aesthetics and mechanical requirements into the products we design. Again, this field could provide a nice situation to curate your creative and technical aptitude.

Best of luck, Victoria!
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Christopher’s Answer

Hi Victoria,
This is definitely something I have thought about. The career path I'm interested in may not 100% line up with neither my other scholarly interests nor extracurricular interests. And that is perfectly okay! You'll find that your life will have many facets outside of your "day job"; maybe that manifests through continued volunteering teaching physics to students or recreational archery outside of work.
Unfortunately, I am not a Civil Engineer nor a Physicist, so I can't speak to the specifics of either role, but I encourage you to follow advice from others in this thread by reaching out to those in your profession via this CareerVillage or another website, such as LinkedIn. Explore options to learn more about specifics of a career by reaching out to admissions offices for universities you are interested in to connect to professors.
Hope that helps!
Chris
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Karalyn’s Answer

In addition to the suggestions already provided, consider if you can take college-level courses during your senior year of high school. This might give you a 'taste' of what college will offer. Search the offerings at area community colleges for science and technical classes that spark your interest and discuss this with your school administrators or counselors if you can fulfill your senior year requirements with such external options.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Victoria,

Based on your passions and experiences, it seems like civil engineering is a strong fit for you. The love for physics, art, and teaching, alongside your achievements in archery, showcase a diverse skill set and a well-rounded nature. To gain further insight into whether civil engineering is the right major for you, consider the following steps:

1. Research and Explore: Look into the various subfields within civil engineering, such as structural engineering, transportation engineering, or environmental engineering. This will give you a clearer understanding of the diverse career paths available within the discipline.

2. Seek Mentorship: Connect with professionals in the field of civil engineering or participate in shadowing opportunities to gain direct exposure to the working environment and the daily tasks involved. This hands-on experience can offer valuable insights into the field.

3. Pursue Internships: Explore internships or co-op programs related to civil engineering. These opportunities can provide practical experience and help you determine if the day-to-day work aligns with your interests and aptitudes.

4. Tailor Resume and Job Applications: Highlight your unique experiences and achievements, such as your teaching involvement, archery achievements, and love for physics and art, in your resume and job applications. Utilize these experiences to showcase your diverse skills and adaptability.

5. Engage in Extracurricular Activities: Continue participating in activities that you enjoy, such as teaching art and practicing archery, as they contribute to your personal growth and demonstrate your well-rounded nature in future job applications and resume building.

By engaging in these steps, you can gain valuable insights into the field of civil engineering and confirm if it is the right fit for you. Your diverse interests and achievements are assets that can contribute to your success in the field and make you stand out as a well-rounded candidate.

Best of luck!
Jennifer
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Mahek’s Answer

It's always fantastic to have a sense of what you might want to explore and where your passions lie, but the true discovery begins when you immerse yourself in those subjects or fields. Embrace an open-minded approach, because college introduces you to a vast array of diverse sectors and industries, some of which might be entirely new to you. It's not uncommon for individuals, even a decade or more post-college, to find themselves on career paths that diverge from their initial field of study. And that's absolutely okay, as long as it's something you genuinely enjoy doing. I suggest using LinkedIn as a tool to connect with Civil Engineers or professionals in roles you envision for yourself. Don't hesitate to reach out to them, requesting a brief 15-minute conversation about their career journey and how they've reached their current position. You'll be amazed at how many people are eager to share their experiences with you.
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Ann’s Answer

I studied civil engineering and then moved away from it for the following reasons that are completely personal: It was a lot of desk work, a lot of individual work. If I had stayed for many years longer, I may have progressed away from lots of hours of CAD and calculations and more to meetings and client management. In the short term, I couldn’t stand it. I love working with people! And I like variety. I discovered construction management via being a civil engineer - a better fit for me. I wear many hats every day - contracts, risk, legal, technical knowledge of every trade, sales, communication, scheduling, procurement, it’s very complex but moves faster than civil engineering. It really comes down to personality! I find engineers to be very rigorous people, calm and methodical.

I don’t regret studying civil because it REALLY challenged my brain. It was extremely difficult, and at that age your brain is a sponge and will expand and the learning capacity is incredible. And I never would have found my way to construction otherwise. No one tells a young woman to go run construction sites, at least not almost 20 years ago when I decided to study civil!

There’s no right or wrong. You’re already on the right track because you’re asking the right questions!
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