Assessing yourself is a key step to understanding options that suit you in your academics, career, and personal life. With key insights about yourself, you are empowered to consider options that match your needs, goals, and priorities, as you move toward an informed decision for your future.
Your career development is a lifelong process, and engaging in regular reflection will prove to be valuable as you evolve and grow through its many phases. Use this page to get familiar with the free assessments that we offer, learn how to take an assessment, and adopt a reflective mindset to tune in to the one, true, you.
Collecting Information You Need
With a clear understanding of the decision that needs to be made, it is time to identify the type of information that could be useful to you at this time. Not all information is useful in every decision we make; for example, it is not significant to know your favorite color if you are deciding where to go for your summer vacation, however, it could be significant to know about your favorite regions, cultures, or hobbies.
When making decisions related to your academic or career plans, you may find it useful to know your interests, personality, strengths, or values. To assist with the specific decision that lies ahead, identify an aspect of yourself you would like to have more information on.
In other words, what do you want to know about yourself?
Here are some examples of specific and measurable information that can inform academic and career decisions:
- Problems that you enjoy solving (Interests)
- Environments and settings where you feel that you are at your best (Personality)
- Tasks and responsibilities that are natural to complete successfully (Strengths)
- Exact annual income required to support your lifestyle needs (Values)
- Topics or subjects you pay attention to in your free time (Interests)
- Types of people who help you feel supported or motivate you to succeed (Personality)
- Qualities that others have complimented you on (Strengths)
- Your value for stability versus spontaneity (Values)
Did You Know?
Research shows that job satisfaction depends more on who you enjoy working with than the tasks that you enjoy performing.
Often times, people focus exclusively on the topical nature of their interests to inform their decisions about academics and careers. However, gaining an understanding of the personality types they work well with can provide even more valuable insights into their future roadmap to success.
Pausing to Strategize
In most cases, decisions do not occur in a vacuum; they are contextualized with many nuanced factors that directly impact the outcome. Some of these factors may be based less on inwardly-focused self-assessment and more on externally-focused information about the available options.
Because both inward factors and outward factors are typically involved in decisions about academics and careers, it is important to complement your inwardly reflective process with an effort to outwardly research information about the options you are considering. Pause to give this your sincere attention as you identify the types of information that will be most useful for you to make an informed decision.
Looking for Clues
Now that you know the type of information that can be useful for your decision, it is time to begin looking for clues. Just like any research study, following this process moves you forward in reaching a conclusion.
There are many ways to find clues about yourself. Life as a UCSB student offers daily opportunities to discover what you like, what you are good at, what types of environments and people you prefer, what matters to you most, and many other aspects about yourself. Every day of your life is loaded with valuable information.
Often times, clues can be found without needing to look too far or wide. Though formal processes for gathering information exist, begin by considering informal activities that may help you collect hints about yourself.
Here are some examples of informal ways to gather information about yourself:
- Talking with a friend
- Posting on social media or blogging
- Exercising outdoors
- Creating art, music, videos, or other forms of expression
- Meditating or practicing mindfulness
- Other creative crafts of choice
Choose activities that help you get your thoughts onto paper or some tangible medium. This helps to organize your thoughts, so that they do not have to run around untamed inside your mind.
If the above activities do not seem useful for you, simply set aside a few minutes each evening to recall your day’s experiences and consider what led you to make the decisions that you made. A simple way to do this is to ask yourself “Why did I make that decision?” and you may find yourself on a path toward useful insights.
There is no right or wrong way to gather information about yourself, but it is important that you dedicate time to this in some way. If you would like to gather more information through a formalized self-assessment process, you may benefit from taking a free assessment with Career Services. If this sounds like you, continue on to find the assessment that works best for your needs.