Stressed Out About Career and Degree Field

Nicole writes:
I am 21 years old and I will enter the workforce in about a year.
I am completely stressing out about my future as well as my major. I received my
AA in communication studies. Communications is what I intended to major in for
my bachelor’s but instead chose sociology. The reason why I am so concerned
is because many people have told me that there is virtually nothing you can do
with a degree in sociology. I am not sure as of yet what I would like to do but
my interests sway toward marketing advertising or public relations. My
question for you is if it is possible for me to still have the opportunity to get
into these fields with a sociology degree? I plan to intern at a public
relations firm this year.

The Career Doctor responds:
Please repeat this mantra: “I control my fate. The degree is the most important thing
not the major. Experience is critical. I control my fate.”
Employers of college graduates want two things: the degree (sometimes with GPA
minimum) and work experience (ideally in your chosen field). And it sounds as though
a year from now you will have both.
You are leaning toward some element of marketing communications — and you say
you plan on doing a public relations internship this year. Good… but you can do more.
Are you interning next summer? If not find another one. The more internships the better.
If you are doing the PR one next year consider one that involves advertising to get a
taste for that. Even though it is late to be looking for a there are
still plenty that can be found. I just had a student land a fantastic marketing
internship with a science center where he will work with the marketing director
to help with advertising PR and marketing strategy.
But let’s also not totally trash a sociology degree. There are lots of job opportunities
for sociology majors (especially ones with work experience) such as and many others. The skills you gain from this degree can certainly
also help you in marketing jobs such as public relations sales advertising and marketing analyst.
I recommend you meet with a career professional from your school’s career
office and set some career goals and strategies. Talk with some of your sociology
professors — and perhaps with a communications or marketing professor. Conduct
research online. Talk with your network of contacts. You have a year to make a
plan for exactly what you want to do when you graduate which is plenty of time
to succeed.
Use the Career
Exploration Tools and Resources
section of Quintessential Careers to
learn more about various career paths.
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