Career Cycle refines focus

Planning for the future can be a difficult task when trying to balance college life. The Oakland University advising resource center and career services have teamed up to provide students with an interactive career cycle to help them “focus on the finish line.”

According to Sara Webb, assistant director of orientation and new student programs, the actual career cycle was developed two years ago. The steps within the cycle have not changed since then, but the new theme was added to ensure students are meeting their own personal goals.

“’Focus on the finish line’ is an initiative that a group of university administrators had come up with as a way to provide students expectations, or tips … about what they should be doing here at Oakland to prepare for the finish line,” Webb said.

The career cycle is divided into four years. The first two years focus on self-assessment and career decision making, while the later years focus more on career preparation.

According to Darren Duff, student programs intern for career services, the career cycle is broken up into sections for the sake of concision. It also shows where they stand toward completing their overall goal, whether that be graduation, or finding a career after graduation.

“It’s not so much thrown out at one time, it’s more blocked out in sections for planning reasons … it’s broken up into steps that aren’t necessarily on your class level, but where you are as far as understanding what you want to do, what major is linked to what career,” Duff said.

The map can be seen online in an interactive flash diagram. Each section of the cycle has links, worksheets, videos and audio clips that keep students interested and involved in their career planning.

“The OU career cycle always had some interaction, they have their voice over clips and a lot of links so people can navigate on their own,” Webb said.

According to Webb, the career cycle provides an overview and continuity to services provided around campus.

“Often times, there are a lot of things that happen on campus that are resources for students,” Webb said. “They are all over the place and (students) don’t exactly know where to find them … this is meant to provide some continuity to that information.”

The new vision provides students with the resources they need to plan ahead and have fun while doing it, Webb said.

“Focus on the finish line, we wanted folks to go there and not just read words, but have tools,” Webb said. “So, whether that you watch a little video … and get some good information, or you click on a worksheet and print and use it to track grades … you (could) read the list and say ‘oh my gosh, I didn’t realize I need to see my advisor.”

Although Webb said it may not be realistic for a student to follow the career cycle step by step, students are able to get bits and pieces of information at times that are convenient for them.

According to Webb, if a student can only follow one step in the cycle, it should be to schedule an appointment with their academic advisor at least once a year.

To learn more about the OU career cycle, visit or