Biology Major Lacks Direction

Sarah writes:
I am entering my senior year in college with a major in biology. I have done several things throughout my college career that would make me a competitive candidate in the work force (research projects teaching and excellent grades). Now that I am nearing graduation I am feeling pressure and limitations. I am married and I live in a small town in southern Illinois. Moving is not really an option because my husband and I have a business here. I know that I will be an intelligent and strong person in the job market … but I am feeling a lack of direction. I want a job with an edge that keeps me active and interested. Government agencies like the EPA or FBI really appeal to me. I have also considered pharmaceutical/medical sales or administration and teaching college. I have a very outgoing personality and I strive for perfection.

What can I do with all of this? I don’t know where to begin. I also want to continue my education and strive for a master or Ph.D.

The Career Doctor responds:
I think you have a lot of possibilities in front of you Sarah but you need to sit down and decide what it is you want to do next with your life. Do you want to start working right away or are you interested in pursuing more education? Either way it seems you may need to do some traveling or commuting.

With an outgoing personality and your biology background something like pharmaceutical sales does seem a match but you should also be aware that sales people spend a lot of time traveling so while you may not need to move you also may be on the road quite a bit.

If your decision is to continue your education then you need to examine what universities in your area have a graduate program in biology. You also need to ask yourself what you plan to do with your advanced education. Do you really want to teach? If so is there a local college(s) where you can do so without relocating? If there are not at least a couple universities in commuting distance and you are still unwilling or unable to move you may get all this education and find yourself without a job.

Finally I would also spend some time with some of your favorite professors discussing these options to get their advice — they know you and the area better than I do. I would also spend some time in your college’s career service’s office talking with a counselor about your options.
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