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The dead walk at MU’s Admitted Student Expo

Marissa Incitti
Features Editor

Over 750 students attended the Admitted Student Exposition on April 13, 2013, but only 65 of those students were faced with an unusual scenario: a zombie attack.
Don’t worry, all the students survived and hopefully learned more about what they were interested in pursuing at Millersville.

Students admitted to the university who are unsure of their path can visit the Admitted Student Expo.
Students admitted to the university who are unsure of their path can visit the Admitted Student Expo.

As you can guess, the zombie attack scenario was for students who haven’t declared a major yet. The scenario was designed to help Exploratory Program students see the connections between Millersville University’s majors, the occupational themes, their interests (which are things they like to do) and their abilities (which are things they do well).
Their scenario challenged them to overcome a zombie apocalypse by figuring out how to make their safe haven called Swanberry, which was a spoof from the popular TV series “The Walking Dead,” sustainable. This is the first time something like this has ever been done at Millersville University, with the Experiential Learning and Career Management (ELCM) office leading the foray into the living dead.
“I am a huge fan of the popular ‘Walking Dead’ series, so I thought it might be a fun, creative twist on the scenario to use a zombie apocalypse to separate survivors into ‘task forces’ that corresponded to the six occupational theme groups,” said Melissa Wardwell, interim director of the ELCM office.
The six occupational themes are: artistic, conventional, enterprising, investigative, realistic and social. Each theme has a list of personality attributes and possible careers that utilize them.
For instance, those who fall under the artistic theme are creative and prefer to deal with ideas and people. A suitable major would be any from the Liberal Arts. People who fall under the conventional theme are called “the organizers” and prefer to deal with data and things. Business is a good major for them.
Enterprising people are called “the persuaders,” investigative people are called “the thinkers,” realistic people are called “the do-ers” and social people are called “the helpers.” To find out what theme you fall under and the corresponding majors, check out the FOCUS test on the ELCM website.

The recent trend in zombie-related movies and TV shows inspired the zombie apocolypse survival theme at the Expo.
The recent trend in zombie-related movies and TV shows inspired the zombie apocolypse survival theme at the Expo.

The use of a scenario to find which theme you fall under is actually based off Richard Bolles’ exercise called The Party. Bolles, a well known career counselor who wrote the book “What Color Is Your Parachute,” developed The Party as a quick way to separate people into the six occupational themes.
Usually, people would take the Self Directed Search assessment which would determine their SDS “code,” developed by John Holland, another well known career counselor, in the 1970s. This SDS code would then determine what sort of jobs their interests aligned with.
The Holland codes are still widely used today and are listed for all occupations on O*Net, an online tool to help people explore careers and analyze potential jobs.
Career counselors in our area usually use the scenario called Toxic Waste to illustrate the occupational themes, but with the new zombie craze sparked by popular movies like ?Shaun of the Dead,” “Zombieland,” and “Warmbodies” along with television shows like “The Walking Dead,” zombies seemed more fitting for Millersville.
“I was a little confused at first, but I liked the zombie scenario. I never really thought of using my personality to help me decide my major,” said John Basser, an undecided student.
The ELCM office, along with the Office of Student Advisement and Development, has many tools and resources to help with major and career exploration.
This does not pertain to just incoming freshmen; anyone who is undeclared or even declared and considering switching or exploring careers is welcome to visit the Experiential Learning and Career Management Office on the third floor of Lyle hall. Remember, it’s never too late or too early to start planning your future.

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