Rely on your values to choose field of study


Christina Browning

AACC students struggling to choose a major can assess their personal values to help guide them.

Reese Levin, Contributor

Students who have not settled on their majors or careers should look for fields that reflect their values, AACC career counselors advise.

Students have the option to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test on campus and to meet with a personal and career counselor or engagement coach to help determine their values.

Marguerite Falcon, a personal and career counselor, has proctored the test and is able to advise students on what the results mean.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a test that matches a student’s personality with one of 16 different types. Once someone has taken it, Falcon can match the student with a list of majors that best suit that personality type.

Vickie Koppold, 55, took the test to narrow down what kinds of jobs she might pursue. She attended Community College of Baltimore County at Catonsville in her early 20s to major in graphic design but left after having two kids.

“I was going to sign up for some classes [at AACC], but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do anymore,” Koppold said. “Graphic design is more on computers and I don’t know if I really like that, so that’s why I came here: to find out maybe what exact field I would like to go [into].”

Alayna Melzer, a second-year transfer studies student, said she is interested in working in health care, a career that matched her personality type.

“It was nice to hear that I am on a track that works with my personality type,” Melzer said. “It was helpful for me to know that the general field I am interested in will be something that wouldn’t be pushing myself out of my natural way of being.”

For students who are still unsure about their values after taking the test, Falcon and professor Jen Lara, an engagement coach, pose questions and scenarios that help them narrow their choices.

“A lot of times I will ask a student what are their top values and how will that match their major or their career … for happiness and to feel fulfilled,” Falcon said.

“If they value money but are going for a career that isn’t going to make a lot of money, I will point that out. If they value forests [and] being outside but they’re going for an indoor job that’s isolated, I will say, ‘How happy will you be with that?’ Sometimes people don’t think that out.”

Lara compared learning about values to navigating directions through traffic with a GPS.

“When we want to go somewhere in life, literally, we set the GPS in our phone or in our cars and we get there,” Lara said.

“Why not do the same thing for yourself, know what your values are and set your internal GPS to them so that you can get there in [the] most efficient way?”