By Fatima Magana '22
ALLIANCE- Making the decision to attend college is the first step to building a successful career. Even if you are certain of what career you want to pursue, you still might be unsure of which major is best for your interests and professional path. If you are like me, as an incoming freshman, I was unsure of where to begin my academic journey.
In high school I knew that the career I wanted to pursue dealt with languages, that career was an interpreter. As a junior in high school, I started taking American Sign Language classes through Stark State College, and in my senior year, I started commuting to Mount Union’s campus to take a Japanese course.
I felt jubilant when I received an email from Mount Union’s Department of World Languages and Cultures confirming my entrance to the Japanese course. Although it was an introductory course, for a first-generation student like me, it meant the beginning of not only my collegiate career, but professional career, as well.
Therefore, I am extremely grateful for the advice and help from my high school guidance counselor, Allison Morrison. Regardless of her schedule, Mrs. Morrison met with me to prepare paperwork needed to begin my journey as a college credit plus (CCP) student.
For first generation students like me, who do not know what the college process is like, ask for guidance from people who have been through the process. They can help you navigate important things like starting college applications, applying to CCP or dual credit classes, and applying for financial aid.
When I officially started college as an admitted student, I wanted to continue my Japanese classes, but I wanted to explore other majors that would allow me to utilize the many languages I already spoke in different professional settings.
At orientation, my Raider Guide and Sara Sherer, director of residence life, helped me by guiding me to the right departments.
I took a couple courses in the now Department of Literature and Communications Arts, and I loved them. As a result, I declared my first major as communication studies with Japanese as my second major.
Once in college, do not be afraid to ask for help from faculty or staff because they will connect you with the people whose help you might need. Especially at Mount Union, faculty and staff members put students’ goals and needs before theirs.
Many students just declare the traditional major and minor, but I was that overachiever who TRIPLE MAJORED! After taking two French courses, I am grateful that my French Professor and Director of the Center for Global Education, Dr. Jennifer Hall, convinced me to declare a French major rather than a French minor.
Studying more than one major was stressful, but thinking about all the possible career paths and goals I could achieve with my communication and linguistics knowledge served as a motivation not to give up. So, if you are questioning whether to add a second or third major, do it! The knowledge and connections you will gain from doing so are not found elsewhere.
Though it can be difficult for some, making connections throughout college can help you develop networking skills. As a freshman, I began working in the Office of Business Affairs and aside from being my supervisors, they were caring staff who, when in need of help, connected me with staff members in the departments that could answer my questions.
My advisor for my communication studies major, Dr. Adelina Cooper, associate professor of communication, met with me during her office hours to help me plan out my schedule for the upcoming semester, help me with class assignments, or help me land an internship on campus, and, what I called my second on-campus job in the Office of Marketing.
Thanks to the knowledge I gained from all three programs of study in college, I have a wide array of career paths I can pursue - from conducting research on the differences between cultures to being an interpreter or translator and even being a content creator.
Thanks to the guidance I received from my high school guidance counselors, professors, and staff members at Mount Union, I would not be where I am, and I certainly would not be attending graduate school to prepare for the next steps in my career journey.