I Went to a Career Counselor to Find Out I Should Become a Career Counselor

As someone who has been incredibly obsessed with the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator since the day I got my results, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I ventured off to take the Strong Interest Inventory.

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Similar to the MBTI, the Strong requires participants to complete an online assessment. Unlike the MBTI, the Strong will display a condition and you have to quickly indicate whether or not you like or dislike such a scenario. If you think for too long, it will move on. You must go with your gut; they don’t want you over-thinking it.

Following the completion of the assessment, certified professionals interpret your report and then meet with you one-on-one to discuss the results. The Strong Interest Inventory results in a three-letter code called a Holland Code.

A Holland Code is made up of three primary letters (technically followed by another 3). To put it simply: it ranks 6 work conditions from the most similar to you to the least. The six letters are: C, R, S, E, I, A.

My Holland Code was: SEA(I,C,R) (though, I think I actually fit SEI(A,C,R) a little bit better.)

This means my work preferences are:

1. Social
2. Enterprising
3. Artistic (or perhaps Investigative)

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Following that, the report will list the top ten occupations that match your Strong Theme Code. I think part of me was hoping to see “Psychiatrist” appear on the list since I’m currently working my butt off in my pre-med courses trying to go to med school so I can become one. As much as I enjoy my science classes, they’re far from easy.

However, “Psychiatrist” did not appear on my top 10 list. In fact, I was quite surprised by the occupations that did. Perhaps the most shocking one was number one.

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So in other words, I went to a career counselor to find out I should become a career counselor.

The funny part is that I actually think I’d enjoy being a career counselor. I’ve dedicated so much time throughout my life to “finding my purpose” and I thoroughly enjoy helping other people find theirs. It is something to think about if the opportunity should ever arrive. 

My main concern is that in order to get into medical school and to ultimately become a psychiatrist, I have to take general science courses like physics and organic chemistry. I really like general chemistry so far but I remember finding physics in high school really difficult. Then, when I look at the prospects of me becoming a physicist or chemist according to the STRONG, it slightly concerns me.

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LOL physicist is the LOWEST occupational score for me across the board. Even compared to those listed in LOWER themes like “Realistic” and “Conventional”! IN FACT, IT’S A NEGATIVE NUMBER. I didn’t even know that was possible.

I’m not sure how to proceed from here. Do I continue to pursue psychiatry and take physics and orgo next year? Or do I take a hint that physics is going to be a nightmare and switch to something else that won’t require medical school? Hm…

10 Comments

  1. Rocky, I could say a lot here. But the world is your oyster right now. Instead of offering (unsolicited) advice, I’m simply going to share with you, one on my favorite (and life guiding) quotes:

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

      1. I am not suggesting anything other than for you to reflect upon, on an ongoing basis, Campbell’s wisdom.

        What I believe he encourages (and I could be mistaken), is for each of us to ponder what we have always been attached to and instead, be aware of and allow for unplanned/unanticipated doors to open.

        From personal experience and what I’ve seen/known in others is that if we remain inflexible in our outlook and aspirations, we may head ourselves down a singular path at the expense of considering other amazing possibilities.

        Not sure if this makes sense or is of any help.

  2. Carolyn Hoppe

    This is where I have ended up; I love it being a career/vocational counselor. You provide input on many levels of need. Many of the Holland Strong personality characteristics can be incorporated; you can be social, enterprising, investigative, and artistic. For the most part you are not required to handle what can be difficult mental health issues that can accompany client career issues. I ended up going for a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling. When I need to call an employer about assisting someone with a return to work issue, the doctorate immediately establishes credibility. I recommend this path!

  3. As someone who has gone through the process of pemed-ism (that’s what I call the worry that all these science classes will stop me from being a doctor), I have to tell you to stop worrying. I could say a lot about putting too much trust in personality career indicators, but all I’m going to tell you is that listening to those tests telling you that you can’t be a doctor is the same as having older family members tell me that girls shouldn’t be surgeons. While the personality tests can help you learn how to study, help you figure out how to approach life, they should in no way get in the way of your passions.
    Biology is hard because it’s PURPOSE is to weed out sub par premeds, so is chemistry. Orgo is hard, but with the proper understanding of how you learn and willingness to put in the hours needed to learn that information, you can persevere.
    That said, medicine isn’t for everyone, and I strongly believe that all premedical students should question their choices, but not from the perspective of “this is hard, I should take a hint”. The questions you should be asking are: “is this what I really want to do with my life? Will I be happy doing this everyday? Can I take the emotional toll? Is it worth the time, effort, and sacrifice put into it?” Deeply analyze yourself and what will make you happy, and then make the decision.

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