So you’ve chosen to major in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field and you’re feeling overwhelmed; don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Earning a degree in STEM will be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of your life. Recognized as one of the future’s most in-demand career fields, students earning a degree in STEM have tremendous opportunities. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the job market through 2022 is expected to grow at 10.2% for STEM jobs compared to the 8.6% average expected combined growth of all other occupations in the state.
And while that sounds great, the major question plaguing students is how do I make it to the finish line?!?
Here’s some practical advice from someone who’s been in your shoes on more than one occasion. School, just like life, is all about balance and alignment. If you’ve ever said “I don’t know if I’m cut out for this”, “I don’t think I have time to be a STEM major” or felt like these majors are for smarter people, then you’re going to want to read on. If not, find a struggling STEM major and motivate them to keep pushing forward! For the rest of us, these tips might help keep you on track:
- Leave the excuses at the door
- Be honest with yourself and ask if you’re really putting in the time it takes to be successful. If not, start.
- Connect with other students –you’d be surprised how many other students are struggling in isolation just like you.
- Develop a relationship with faculty and staff and watch the opportunities pour in
- Believe that you’re already the scientist you’re preparing to become.
- Invest more time in yourself and less time in the activities that don’t add value
- Find and use the campus resources to your advantage and
- Trust the process
Developing these habits and becoming the best version of you doesn’t happen overnight. It takes discipline, perseverance, commitment, and the support and encouragement of others. Balancing your social and academic life and aligning yourself with people and activities that support your goals is key getting through the negative self-talk we all indulge in. Remember, without struggle there is no progress. Those who do, succeed. Those who don’t, don’t. The only difference between those who stay lit in St. Louis and those who stay lit in St. Lucia is the amount of time and energy they invested in their future early on. Which destination are you headed towards?
written by: Dobbie Herrion, MOLSAMP Director, Harris-Stowe