Choosing a Major
It's quite common to be unsure exactly what you want to do when you graduate. Most people have three or four different careers over their lifetimes. Because a Marquette education gives students the ability to "communicate responsibly and ethically; engage the world as moral actors and citizens with purpose; use a broad disciplinary focus to engage and collaborate with diverse others, and act as leaders in discovery to solve global problems," you will be well-prepared to enter many different career options.
Settling on a major can take a little time. It is important, however, to come to a decision within your second year so that your graduation is not delayed. There are resources that can help you understand what your gifts and talents are and how those lend themselves to your life's calling and purpose.
Establishing Relationships with Faculty and Staff
Building relationships with faculty and staff is highly encouraged and will prove beneficial for a successful experience at Marquette. Not only can faculty and staff help you navigate campus resources and the academic process, they can also help you transition toward the professional world, service opportunities, and graduate, law, dental or medical school.
Some professors are constantly looking for research assistants over the summer, particularly those who work in STEM. Research opportunities are an excellent employment opportunity over the summer because they will help you earn valuable experience in your field of study and potential career. Professors are exceptional sources for finding these research opportunities.
Don't be afraid to email your professors or other university staff you've met. While faculty and staff have many commitments, they do want students to be successful and are willing to help. Because of their varied schedules, it may take a few days to get a return email, so please be patient. It's important also to use professional email etiquette, such as using people's titles rather than first names (e.g. "Dear Dr. Gold" or "Dear Ms. Blue").
See additional resources on email etiquette and professionalism from Career Services.
Office hours are a great way to get to know faculty and staff as well as get questions answered or seek assistance. Office hours are typically listed on course syllabi, but it's often best to schedule an appointment with the person so that you do not run the risk of another student being there at the same time as you.
Once you build a solid relationship with a faculty or staff member, that person may be willing to serve as a professional reference for you when applying for internships, scholarships, jobs and other opportunities. You should ask the person if they are willing to do so before listing them on your resume or application. You should also provide that person with information on what you are applying for. If you need a letter of recommendation, you should also allow ample time for that person to compose the letter. A week to 10 days is preferable.
Tips for Building Relationships
Establishing relationships with faculty and staff may be intimidating at first, especially if it is something you are not accustomed to. Here are some tips for beginning your relationship with faculty and staff members:
- Introduce yourself in the beginning of the semester.
- If your professor or instructor does not know your name by the time of midterms, you should begin turning that around ASAP.
- This may be more difficult in a large lecture of hundreds of students, but that should incentivize you even more to stick out among the crowd.
- Visit office hours, which are listed on the syllabus.
- Introducing yourself is important, but it will not be enough.
- Here are some topics you can discuss with your professor during office hours:
- Class homework or reading
- Further reading about an area of interest in class
- Career opportunities
- Office hours are also a good way you and your professors can get to know each other so they can speak about your experiences in letters of recommendation.
- Communicate via email.
- If you cannot attend office hours, make sure to contact your professor via email.